The sheer amount of private information placed at risk is troubling enough but officials also claim they have reason to believe that hackers from China were responsible for the hack.
If it’s true, it would mark the second time this year that China may have been responsible for getting past federal defenses in the cyber world, sparking a major concern about whether or not America is keeping up with other countries when it comes to cybersecurity.
Both China and Russia have been connected to massive cyberattacks against the U.S. and with some of their efforts being largely successful, it seems now is the time for America to boost such digital defenses.
For now, efforts are being focused on finding out just how much data was obtained and which employees fell victim to the hack.
The Officer of Personnel Management (OPM) “suffered what appeared to be one of the largest breaches of information ever on government workers,” Reuters reported.
The actual breach was identified back in April but this seems to be the first time the size of the hack has been made clear. Federal officials have been pushing for a change in legislation that would require more protections against cyber threats but related proposals have failed to move beyond the Senate floor.
“This latest intrusion…is among the most shocking because Americans may expect that federal computer networks are maintained with state of the art defenses,” Schiff, a top Democrat on The House Intelligence Committee, said in a public statement. “The cyber threat from hackers, criminals, terrorists and state actors is one of the greatest challenges we face on a daily basis, and it’s clear that a substantial improvement in our cyber databases and defenses is perilously overdue.”
Many people have wondered why the U.S., a country that seems more reliant on technology and the Internet than many other global powers, hasn’t been more proactive about protecting themselves in cyberspace.
It could be, perhaps, that Americans don’t necessarily understand the dangers of such vulnerability. Citizens have remained furious over Iran nuclear deals and possible missile strikes but there hasn’t been the same type of fear mongering surrounding digital threats.
While a massive hack certainly won’t end in the kind of devastation that would be brought on by nuclear warfare, it’s still the type of security threat that could, and has, put millions of Americans at risk.
So while officials devote all their attention to protecting American from potential threats, there also needs to be a greater sense of urgency to protect America from the attacks that have already been happening and have recently be growing in frequency.