What is being characterized as a “major cyber attack” on the Department of Energy two weeks ago is suspected of being the work of China which, along with Iran, is said to be after Energy Department secrets. According to Fox News, the personal information of several hundred employees has been compromised, all of whom are being alerted. Obviously, there is concern that the culprits may have been after “other sensitive information”.
The FBI is currently investigating the attack, which took place at the Dept of Energy’s Washington-based headquarters.
This is very sobering news, especially considering the fact that the National Nuclear Security Administration is included in the department.
In a November 2012 report to Congress, the U.S. China Economic and Security Review Commission said that U.S. industry, as well as a range of government and “military targets face repeated exploitation attempts by Chinese hackers as do international organizations and nongovernmental groups including Chinese dissident groups, activists, religious organizations, rights groups, and media institutions.”
Former Energy Department security official Ed McCallum was quoted by The Washington Free Beacon as saying, “It’s a continuing story of negligence”.
Officials say that they are, “working to plug security holes in the system and are developing ways to prevent a similar cyber attack in the future”.
The news of this security breach comes on the heels of reports just last week that the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post were all victims of Chinese cyber attacks.
China’s Ministry of National Defense denied that they were responsible for the cyber attacks.
It is always frightening when government computers are hacked. Although classified information was not compromised in this instance, who knows what hackers may be able to obtain in the future?