There was a massive US government data hack this past week. The US is pointing fingers at China, but nothing has been confirmed yet. This is not the first government attack to have happened over the past year, and it’s not the first time that the US finds China guilty of cyber espionage.
What Was Taken
The data that was hacked into contained US government employee records in addition to data clearance information. The hack occurred at the Interior Department and at the Office of Personnel Management. This means that nearly four million people at various government agencies could be impacted by the attack. As soon as press found out that the government was looking at China to claim responsibility for the attacks, the Chinese government quickly denied any relation to the hacks.
Chinese representatives stated that accusing the Chinese government of the attacks was irresponsible of the US, and that the country had no idea where the attacks came from. The US did not officially state that China was behind the attacks, but it has been made clear that the US is investigating China in addition to some other countries.
Why the Hacks Keep Happening
Many politicians have spoken out against the attacks stating that the US government should be able to keep their systems more secure, and that any attacks (especially those that are recurring) should not be happening. Further, some report, US citizens expect the government to put up better defences against such attacks, but that doesn’t seem to be happening since this is far from being the first time that such attacks have happened.
The response from the government has been that they do not know how the cyber attacks keep happening, or why they keep happening. Government systems should be highly secure, but the security measures that are in place currently are not working. This has caused my politicians to ask for an overhaul of the government’s security systems, and to call for better cyber security.
Recently, the Internal Revenue Service was the subject of a cyber attack. That attack was largely blamed on the fact that the IRS does not have adequate cyber funding, and that more money needs to be put into securing systems for all federal agencies. The recent attack may just go to prove that this assumption is correct, and that the government does need to spend a lot more money on beefing up cyber defences.
Technology moves at a fast pace, and governments have to keep up with the tech that hackers have access to. If this doesn’t happen, hackers can easily tap into government systems in order to retrieve all kinds of information including IRS sensitive details and the names and clearance levels of all kinds of government workers. While the FBI is looking into the attacks, nothing has surfaced so far.
China, again, adamantly denies any involvement with the recent attacks, though inside sources have said otherwise. Hopefully, the US will start putting more money into government cyber security in order to prevent future attacks of the same kind.