publically exposed hacks are almost an everyday occurrences in modern times, with everything from cloud storage hacks revealing personal pictures to large time security software companies being hacked. These can be anywhere from personally and professionally devastating to something which can become on a whole new level, such as the hack that took place on the Office of Personal Management (OPM) in America.
The Office of Personal Management is basically the human resources division for the American government, and while the government first addressed the breach they stated that details for approximately four million people were exposed, including dates of birth, addresses and the social security numbers.
The problem is, it may be a lot worse. SF-86 forms are used to conduct background checks for security clearance, and like you would expect on these forms they contain a whole spread of sensitive information, not only about the applicant but also their family and friends. This means the level of information revealed, accessed and possibly copied in the breach could be a lot worse than first admitted.
Initial reports stated that EINSTEIN, the governments hack detection software detected the breach. According to the Wall Street Journal today, however, it would seem that the breach was actually discovered during a sales demonstration by a company looking to show off its forensics product. So not only was the breach undersold to the public, but it looks like the governments detection software was beaten in a sales presentation.
If the new reports are true, everything from a person’s family’s names and addresses and medical details could be in the hand of the very people they are meant to be protected from. This could be the start of a very painful message that governments need to work harder to protect the people they serve, both offline and online.
Image courtesy of PCWorld.