Cybersecurity:America Needsa Better Defense; in June 2015, the U.S. Government Discovered Something Horrifying: The Office of Personnel Management Had Been Hacked by China. the Attackers Had Stolen the Social Security Numbers, Performance Ratings and Job Assignments of Millions of Current and Former Federal Employees. [Derived Headline]

Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 25, 2016 | Go to article overview

Cybersecurity:America Needsa Better Defense; in June 2015, the U.S. Government Discovered Something Horrifying: The Office of Personnel Management Had Been Hacked by China. the Attackers Had Stolen the Social Security Numbers, Performance Ratings and Job Assignments of Millions of Current and Former Federal Employees. [Derived Headline]


In June 2015, the U.S. government discovered something horrifying: The Office of Personnel Management had been hacked by China. The attackers had stolen the Social Security numbers, performance ratings and job assignments of millions of current and former federal employees.

It wasn't the first time the Chinese had been tied to security breaches in the government. They had gained access to the computers of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s top officials as well as sensitive data in government employees' security clearance files. The Chinese military was able to steal weapons designs, data on advanced technologies and insight into U.S. government policies. They had collected information about America's electrical power grid, gas lines and waterworks.

Over the past year, though, China has largely faded from the conversation. It's not because its hackers have gone away. The Chinese continue to extract secrets from the U.S. government. But their efforts are, and have always been, far less scary than Russia's brazen new challenge in the information space.

Unlike China, the Russians aren't using their cyberspies to steal business insights or gather information that officials can use in private negotiations with the United States. They're looking to break NATO and undermine democratic values -- big strategic goals that President Vladimir Putin energetically pursues. Russia has become the biggest threat in cyberspace, and it will be very hard to defeat.

Both Russia and China have absconded with America's secrets for decades. China's efforts have been better known because Chinese hackers have gotten caught more. As The New York Times reported, Chinese hackers stole "designs for the F-35 fighter jet, corporate secrets for rolling steel, even the blueprints for gas pipelines that supply much of the United States."

In 2008, they accessed the campaign servers of Barack Obama and John McCain, stealing internal position papers and communications, The Times said. Those documents were never leaked.

Russian hackers have used more sophisticated techniques and, as a result, have operated mostly under the radar, navigating their way into the networks of major agencies, including the Defense and State departments. They have also gained access to U.S. Central Command, the White House, energy companies and critical infrastructure around the country.

Today, China's cyberespionage efforts have become more refined. But they're still focused on gathering information as quietly as possible. China is careful to avoid anything that could look like an attack.

The Russians are not. The country's aims are much more aggressive -- and personal. Its leaders believe that the United States is trying to use the Internet (which the Kremlin calls a tool of the CIA) to remake the world in its own Western liberal image. …

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Cybersecurity:America Needsa Better Defense; in June 2015, the U.S. Government Discovered Something Horrifying: The Office of Personnel Management Had Been Hacked by China. the Attackers Had Stolen the Social Security Numbers, Performance Ratings and Job Assignments of Millions of Current and Former Federal Employees. [Derived Headline]
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