On April 15, 2015, a network engineer noticed a strange signal emanating from the US Office of Personnel Management. That was just the tip of the iceberg.
HAWAII INTELLIGENCE DIGEST, 24 October 2016, 04:25 hrs, UTC, Post #4.
Accessed on 24 October 2016, 04:25 hrs, UTC.
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The ongoing cyberwar has been taken up a notch with the disclosure that hackers successfully penetrated the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management, stealing over 4 million personnel records. This is just the latest revelation on just how insecure our private information is in this new digital age.
Although “Wired.com” says the discovery of the massive hack “shocked the U.S. Government”, I doubt if those in the upper levels of federal management were actually surprised, given the successful penetration of many U.S. businesses and government agencies ranging from local municipalities to national entitities. Such stories have been carried by the media for several years.
Apparently, OPM had some tools to mitigate the worst effects of this recent hack, but didn’t implement them until 2015, well after the serious compromise of personal and government data.
While no one knows for sure who or what engineered this nearly flawless hack, several key players are suspect, including Unit 61398 of the Peoples Liberation Army (China), the Russian Federation, North Korea, and perhaps Iran.
What makes this situation so amazing is that most federal agencies have readily available tools to offset successful cyber attacks.
According to “Wired.com”, simple precautions such as the use of “multifactor authentication”, better communication between private vendors and the federal government, and an intense security awareness program involving all federal and contractural employees would surely mitigate many cyber attacks.
Based on my experience in the security field, most of my fellow citizens don’t have a clue on just how vulnerable our personal and business data are. We are entirely too trusting of others, too ignorant of world affairs, and remarkably ignorant of science and technology.
It’s time to wake up before our ignorance destroys our industrial and economic base. Our Chinese and Russian “friends” have targeted the U.S. military for years, and now specialized cyber attack teams from these countries are expanding their reach into areas vital to our economy.
Like it or not, we are engaged in a new type of conflict where the battlefront is locked within your PC, Mac, or tablet. With so much of our daily lives merged with “The Internet of Things (IoT)” and governed by codes and protocols susceptible to hackers, we may find ourselves out maneuvered and paralyzed before we know it. It’s time to beef up security.
Unless we take preventative measures soon, our economic and military capabilities will be neutralized before a shot is fired.
You can get a good idea of what we are facing by checking out the news feeds in the blog sidebar. These feeds are updated daily.
If I sound alarmist, I am. This is not a game. This is real life, and, right now, we’re running out of time.
Opinions expressed in this blog are mine unless otherwise stated.
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Until next time,
Hawaii Intelligence Digest