Cyber breach compromises US federal computer systems

By The Citizen

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said on Thursday that it has launched a probe into a cybersecurity breach that compromised the data of up to 4 million people and would hold the culprits accountable, Reuters reported.

“The FBI is working with our interagency partners to investigate this matter,” the bureau said in a statement. “We take all potential threats to public and private sector systems seriously, and will continue to investigate and hold accountable those who pose a threat in cyberspace.”

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) detected new malicious activity affecting its information systems in April and the Department of Homeland Security said it concluded at the beginning of May that the agency’s data had been compromised.

The OPM had previously been the victim of a cyberattack, as have various federal government computer systems at the State Department, the US Postal Service and the White House.

Since the intrusion, OPM said it had implemented additional security precautions for its networks. It said it would notify the 4 million people affected and offer credit monitoring and identity theft services to the people affected.

“The last few months have seen a series of massive data breaches that have affected millions of Americans,” US Rep Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a statement.

But he called the latest intrusion “among the most shocking because Americans may expect that federal computer networks are maintained with state of the art defences”.

It is thought that the ramifications of the data breach could potentially affect every federal agency.