The System Remains Vulnerable

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The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was the victim of a cyber-attack in 2014.  Hackers (the Chinese are suspected) gained access to OPM’s local-area network on or about May 7, 2014 by stealing credentials and then planting malware and creating a backdoor for exfiltration.  Actual exfiltration of data on background investigations did not begin until July 3, 2014, and it continued until August. In October 2014, the hackers pivoted to the Interior Department center where OPM’s personnel records resided. On December 15, 2014, the intruders siphoned that data away.  OPM did not discover that they had a problem until April 15, 2015.  The attack was successful in stealing personal data on 22 million current or former federal employees.

While the number of personnel files is staggering, why is this the most significant breach of the U.S. Government (USG) to date?

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