US Dealing with ‘Dedicated Adversary’ in Cyber Security


The US has admitted it is facing what it calls a ‘dedicated adversary’ creating an ever evolving threat to the national cyber security in the light of another major data breach.  The hacking of computers belonging to the federal government has potentially compromised the records of some four million employees.

So far, US officials have blamed the attack on China but the Chinese have denied any involvement.  The employees involved are both current and former workers and have been warned to take precautions.


The advice includes monitoring or closing bank accounts, freezing their credit reports and changing their online passwords.  Some have already expressed their fears about how their information is going to be used.

Bryan Sivak, former technology officer with the Department of Health and Human Service said that identity theft was the thing that worried him the most but depending on what information was accessed; he is also concerned about the information being used to illegally access networks or even against people directly.

Steve Hodge, who worked for the Food and Drug Administration, said that anyone who had this information about him would then be able to impersonate him.

During the White House briefing on Friday, the spokesman referred to the US facing a ‘dedicated adversary’ and confirmed that the question of who carried out the attack is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the FBI.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) said that it had been made aware of the breach in April after an aggressive effort to update its cyber security systems.  It said that it would be giving those effected an 18 month free credit monitoring and identity theft insurance package.

Stolen information

The information stolen included security clearances and background checks dating back to 1985 along with social security numbers, birthdays, addresses, bank information and other personal data.  Performance reviews and testing from their time working for the government were also stolen.

Some of the sensitive personal information could be used to access critical weapons systems, an unnamed US official told the Reuters news agency.

Susan Collins, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that they currently believed the hackers were based in China but the Chinese have denied any official involvement.  A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington said that the allegations were ‘not responsible and counterproductive’.

US Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said that the hack was proof of the inadequacy of the current US cyber strategy.  He added that if China was to blame, the US could no longer ‘sit idly by’ and that ways needed to be found to deter any future attacks of this nature.

Spokesman for President Barack Obama said that he has frequently raised China’s activities in cyberspace as a significant concern.


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