Chinese Massive Cyber Attack Affected about 4 Million U.S. Federal Workers

China located hackers launched massive cyber attack on U.S. federal workers.

Chinese hackers broke into U.S. government computers. Photo: broadleak/Flickr

Chinese hackers broke into U.S. government computers. Photo: broadleak/Flickr

A group of hackers broke into U.S. government computers, compromising the personal data of millions of federal workers. Currently investigators are trying to figure out whether the culprits were based in China, U.S. officials confirmed on Thursday.

The Department of Homeland Security announced in a statement that data from the Office of Personnel Management and the Interior Department had been compromised in the attack.

“The FBI is working with our inter-agency partners to investigate this matter,” the bureau said in a statement. “We take all potential threats to public and private sector systems seriously, and will continue to investigate and hold accountable those who pose a threat in cyberspace.”

“The FBI is conducting an investigation to identify how and why this occurred,” the statement claims.

Investigators suppose that the culprits can be based in China, said Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican.

Collins, a member of the Senate intelligence committee, said the breach was “yet another indication of a foreign power probing successfully and focusing on what appears to be data that would identify people with security clearances.”

A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington called such accusations “not responsible and counterproductive.”

“Cyberattacks conducted across countries are hard to track and therefore the source of attacks is difficult to identify,” spokesman Zhu Haiquan said Thursday night. He went on and added that hacking can “only be addressed by international cooperation based on mutual trust and mutual respect.”

Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei commented on the issue, saying that China hoped the United States would have more trust and cooperate more.

“Without first thoroughly investigating, always saying that ‘it’s possible’, this is irresponsible and unscientific,” said Hong.

Reuters explains: “The breach hit OPM’s IT systems and its data stored at the Department of the Interior’s data center, a shared service center for federal agencies, a DHS official said on condition of anonymity. The official would not comment on whether other agencies’ data had been affected.”

“OPM had previously been the victim of another cyber attack, as have various federal government computer systems at the State Department, the U.S. Postal Service and the White House.”

This is not the first time Chinese hackers were accused for penetrating OPM’s computer networks. Last year they reportedly targeted files on tens of thousands of employees who had applied for top-secret security clearances.

“The FBI is working with our inter-agency partners to investigate this matter,” the bureau said in a statement. “We take all potential threats to public and private sector systems seriously, and will continue to investigate and hold accountable those who pose a threat in cyberspace.”

“The last few months have seen a series of massive data breaches that have affected millions of Americans,” U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a statement.

Tens of millions of records may have been lost in the attacks on Anthem and Premera Blue Cross.

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