“The United States of America is below attack.”
That’s the warning from Rep. Elijah Cummings — a top Democrat on the House Oversight and Governmental Affairs Committee — and just one of a lot of blunt assessments provided right now by lawmakers and Obama administration officials in the initial congressional hearing to appear into the cyber-assault on the Workplace of Personnel Management.
“I consider this attack … a far extra critical one particular to the national safety of our nation” than the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, added Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y.
It’s “the most devastating cyber attack in our nation’s history,” insisted the committee’s chairman, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.
OPM’s chief details officer, Donna Seymour, known as the matter “grave and significant.”
And a major Homeland Security official said he is “deeply concerned.”
U.S. officials publicly acknowledge 4.2 million current and former federal workers may have had their private data compromised when personnel records were breached in the attack. And officials now concede information and facts tied to background investigations of existing, former and even prospective personnel could have been compromised.
But those officials testifying now declined to say how a lot of folks could be impacted by the theft of background-investigation details – even as it becomes increasingly clear the cyber-attack might have exposed sensitive information of U.S. military, law enforcement, diplomatic and intelligence officials around the planet, such as “foreign contacts” and relatives living overseas.
Nonetheless, the officials did supply some new insight into how hackers, believed to be from China, had been in a position to access OPM’s systems.
The DHS official, Assistant Secretary Andy Ozment, stated the hackers obtained a valid user’s “credentials” — such as log-in information — to enter OPM’s vast network.
On Friday, ABC News reported that the OPM hackers could have utilised info stolen last year from a private government contractor, KeyPoint Government Solutions, to in the end break into federal systems.
Authorities suspect hackers had been able to extract electronic credentials or other details from inside KeyPoint’s systems and somehow use them to aid unlock OPM’s systems, sources briefed on the matter told ABC News.
KeyPoint representatives contacted by ABC News on Friday declined comment. And officials asked about the probable hyperlink at today’s hearing would not respond publicly.