Rewarding Failure at the Office of Personnel Management

By Examiner, Washington | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, October 6, 2016 | Go to article overview

Rewarding Failure at the Office of Personnel Management


Examiner, Washington, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


Katherine Archuleta, director of the White House Office of Personnel Management, was ousted last year because her agency's negligence allowed the largest government data breach in history.

It compromised the personal information of more than 22 million people, including current and former government employees, contractors and people who had merely applied for security clearances. The data stolen included names, Social Security numbers, personal financial records, health records, criminal records, family information and fingerprints.

This happened because OPM ignored warnings about vulnerabilities in its system for three years. It failed to take the simple precaution of using two-factor authentication, as many businesses do. This could mean, for example, requiring a password and a token generated by a trusted device carried by those with access to the network. OPM continued to leave its system vulnerable even months after the hack was discovered.

Archuleta has been out of OPM more than a year, but the agency hasn't learned from its mistakes. This week, it rehired the contractor that gave hackers the loophole they exploited to gain access the broader system.

KeyPoint Government Solutions and OPM are being sued for allowing the breach. Yet the federal government has just given KeyPoint a $1 million contract. Talk about rewarding failure.

The hacker who infiltrated OPM did so using the credentials of a KeyPoint employee. …

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