Opm Hack: 2018 And Beyond
One of the eerie things about the hack is the absence of recent news. The Justice Department has been mum about Yu Pingan since his arrest. There was a case of small-time identity theft in the summer of 2018 that the Department of Justice seemed to imply involved personal data that had been stolen in the breach, but they later admitted they had been in error. As Arun Vishwanath, a cybersecurity researcher at the State University of New York at Buffalo, toldWiredmagazine, We havent seen a single indication of this data being used anywhere. Yeah, we know the data is gone, but where did it go? Whats the purpose of all of this? No one has the answer to any of that.
More on the OPM hack:
Opm Cybersecurity Breach Information
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management recently became aware of cybersecurity incidents affecting its systems and data that may have exposed the personal information of current and former Federal employees, contractors and others.
OPM has specifically identified two separate, but related cybersecurity incidents. The first incident, announced June 4, 2015, involved the compromise of personnel records of 4.2 million current and former Federal employees. The second incident, announced June 12, 2015, involved the compromise of background investigations records of 21.5 million current, former, and prospective Federal employees, contractors, and others.
These incidents are reminders of the seriousness of cyber threats and the importance of cybersecurity and the need for vigilance in protecting systems and data. These threats are dynamic, they are constantly evolving, and they require that we endeavor to stay ahead of them.
For more information regarding these OPM cybersecurity incidents, how you may be affected, steps OPM is taking, and what you can do to protect your identity, please visit the OPM website: www.opm.gov/cybersecurity.
Current employees may also visit the internal-only DOE website: .
The Official Opm Hack Report
After an exhaustive and sometimes confrontational investigation, the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee released a report on the OPM data breach to the public. It’s an exhaustive 241 pages, and much of the material in this article derives from its conclusions.
In OPM officials realized they’d been hacked. However, they didn’t publicize the breach at that time, and, having determined that the attackers were confined to a part of the network that didn’t have any personnel data, OPM officials chose to allow the attackers to remain so they could monitor them and gain counterintelligence. OPM did plan for what they called the “big bang”a system reset that would purge the attackers from the systemwhich they implemented on May 27, 2014, when the attackers began to load keyoggers onto database administrators’ workstations.
Unfortunately, on May 7, 2014, an attacker or group dubbed X2by the report had used credentials stolen from KeyPoint to establish another foothold in the OPM network and install malware there to create a backdoor. This breach went undetected and the “big bang” didn’t remove X2’s access or the backdoor. In these attackers exfiltrated the background investigation data from OPM’s systems.
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A Recent Hearing Yielded New Details About How Hackers Were Able To Make Off With Data On Millions Of Current And Former Federal Employees
After no fewer than five congressional hearings and countless hours of testimony from government officials, were learning more about the massive breach of sensitive government files at the Office of Personnel Management.
Weve learned hackers first breached the Office of Personnel Managements networks in late 2013, months before the earlier timeline laid out by officials. Although that intrusion is not believed to have led to the loss of personally identifiable information, its now believed hackers made off with IT system manuals that, officials say, could have provided a blueprint of sorts into OPMs networks and laid the groundwork for future hacks.
The timeline below, first published June 17, has been extensively updated and revised. The timeline provides the key events leading up to the disclosure of the OPM mega-hack earlier this month including when intruders first breached government and contractors networks
The timeline is based on media reports, congressional testimony and other public records.
The earliest known malicious activity on OPM networks so far disclosed by government officials dates back to November 2013. Intruders dont make off with any personally identifiable information, but they did steal manuals about OPM IT assets, which officials said acted as a blueprint to OPM networks. The malicious activity is not detected by OPM until March 2014.
May 2014 — OPM Gives USIS a Clean Bill of Health Separate OPM Security Clearance Hack Begins
Why Gao Did This Study
OPM collects and maintains personal data on millions of individuals, including data related to security clearance investigations. In 2015, OPM reported significant breaches of personal information that affected 21.5 million individuals.
The Senate report accompanying the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2016 included a provision for GAO to review information security at OPM. GAO evaluated OPM’s actions since the 2015 reported data breaches to prevent, mitigate, and respond to data breaches involving sensitive personnel records and information information security policies and practices for implementing selected government-wide initiatives and requirements and procedures for overseeing the security of OPM information maintained by contractors providing IT services. To do so, GAO examined policies, plans, and procedures and other documents tested controls for selected systems and interviewed officials. This is a public version of a sensitive report being issued concurrently. GAO omitted certain specific examples due to the sensitive nature of the information.
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Office Of Personnel Management Data Breach
In June 2015, the United States Office of Personnel Management announced that it had been the target of a data breach targeting personnel records. Approximately 22.1 million records were affected, including records related to government employees, other people who had undergone background checks, and their friends and family. One of the largest breaches of government data in U.S. history, information that was obtained and exfiltrated in the breach included personally identifiable information such as Social Security numbers, as well as names, dates and places of birth, and addresses. State-sponsored hackers working on behalf of the Chinese government carried out the attack.
The data breach consisted of two separate, but linked, attacks. It is unclear when the first attack occurred but the second attack happened on May 7, 2014, when attackers posed as an employee of KeyPoint Government Solutions, a subcontracting company. The first attack was discovered March 20, 2014, but the second attack was not discovered until April 15, 2015. In the aftermath of the event, Katherine Archuleta, the director of OPM, and the CIO, Donna Seymour, resigned.
The Catastrophic Data Breach Of The Federal Office Of Personnel Management Which Exposed The Personal Information Of More Than 22 Million Current And Former Employees Became Public In Mid
If you want to have even a chance of defeating cyber attacks, you have to be quick.
So, in hindsight, there is no mystery why the federal governments Office of Personnel Management was a loser to attackers who exfiltrated personal data including in many cases detailed security clearance information and fingerprint data of more than 22 million current and former federal employees.
Hackers, said to be from China, were inside the OPM system starting in 2012, but were not detected until March 20, 2014. A second hacker, or group, gained access to OPM through a third-party contractor in May 2014, but was not discovered until nearly a year later.
These and dozens of other depressing details are in a timeline that is part of a 241-page report released last month by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, bluntly titled, The OPM Data Breach: How the Government Jeopardized Our National Security for More than a Generation.
Indeed, the report opens with a series of quotes from high-level intelligence officials, all declaring in stark terms how catastrophic the effects of the breach will be, for decades.
FBI Director James Comey spoke of the information contained in the so-called SF-86 form, used for conducting background checks for employee security clearances.
Someone probably should have been fired sooner.
Stewart Baker, blogger and partner at Steptoe & Johnson
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Office Of Personnel Management Data Breach Settlement
This settlement resolves class actions against the US Office of Personnel Management and its security contractor, Peraton Risk Decision, Inc. about data breaches that were announced in 2015.
The complaint alleges that that data breaches, of Peratons systems in 2013 and 2014 and OPMs in 2014 and 2015, exposed the private information of more than 22 million current and former government employees and contractors as well as certain applicants for jobs. According to the complaint, OPM did not implement adequate safeguards to protect the information it held, and Peraton was negligent in permitting hackers to obtain its security credentials.
Company: Office of Personnel Management
Filing Deadline: December 23, 2022
Class Period: May 7, 2014 to January 30, 2022
Objection Deadline: September 9, 2022
Exclusion Deadline: September 9, 2022
Final Approval Hearing: October 14, 2022
Proof of Purchase:
You must provide documentation to support your claim. For example, proof of loss might be an account statement with fraudulent charges highlighted police reports, IRS documents, or the like.
Eligibility: Typical Settlement Amount:
Free credit monitoring and identity theft protection services. To sign up, visit https://www.opm.gov/cybersecurity/ or call 1-800-750-3004 Monday through Saturday, between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
Total Settlement Amount: $63,000,000
Class Representative Proposed Incentive Fee:
Opm Breach Victims Expected To Receive About $700 Each After Class Action Settlement
Nearly 26 million people who had their information leaked during two Office of Personnel Management data breaches in 2014 and 2015 may be entitled to up to $10,000 after a class action lawsuit against the agency was settled for $63 million.
The breaches revealed in the summer of 2015 affected federal government employees, contractors and others who worked with the agency that went through background checks. The breaches gave hackers access to the 127-page Standard Form 86 , questionnaires for national security positions that included the names, social security numbers and more sensitive information from victims and their families.
A bevy of lawsuits were filed against the agency as well as Peraton Risk Decision, the contractor OPM used for background checks.
The cases were consolidated into one case and the $63 million settlement was reached last month. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia appointed Epiq Class Action & Claims Solutions to manage the procedures around notifying victims and distributing cash payments to victims.
Last week, the court asked Epiq to begin issuing notices of the settlement, and a website created by the firm says most people will receive about $700.
To qualify for the settlement, victims must show that their personal information was compromised in the breach and that they were forced to spend money or time related to the breach.
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How Did The Opm Hack Happen The Technical Details
It’s not entirely clear how X1 gained access to OPM’s networks, but OPM had already been roundly criticized for poor security practices in the period leading up to the intrusion. It’s also not entirely clear that X1 and X2 were the same person or group, but seeing as X1 stole information about OPM’s network that would’ve been helpful to X2’s agenda, the assumption is that they were at least working in tandem.
What is clear is that OPM’s technical leadership, overly confident that they had defeated X1 with the “big bang,” did not use the intrusion as a “wake up call” and failed to take measures that would have helped them detect X2. They had also largely failed to institute a number of important and recommended security measures, the most the important of which in the event was two-factor authentication. Under a two-factor authentication scheme, users need a chip-enhanced ID card that correlates with their username and password in order to log into the system. Without it, an attacker who manages to steal a valid username and passwordas X2 did, using a login pilfered from KeyPointhas free access to the system. OPM finally implemented two-factor authentication in January 2015, after X2 had already wormed their way into the network.
Why The Opm Hack Is Far Worse Than You Imagine
The Office of Personnel Management data breach involves the greatest theft of sensitive personnel data in history. But, to date, neither the scope nor scale of the breach, nor its significance, nor the inadequate and even self-defeating response has been fully aired.
The scale of the OPM breach is larger and more harmful than appreciated, the response to it has worsened the data security of affected individuals, and the government has inadequately addressed the breachs counterintelligence consequences. While we can never know for sure exactly what the government is doing in secret to address the breach and mitigate its consequences, based on what is publicly known, the millions affected by the breach have good reason to fear.
Below, I explore the scale of the problem.
First Cut On the Scope of the Breach
When news first broke about the OPM data breach in early June of 2015, I was not overly concerned. Like many others, I initially assumed the breach involved only routine background checks it never occurred to me that the actual security clearances could be held at OPM. Then, in mid-June, officials confirmed a second breach involving the security clearance files of current, former, and prospective federal employees. The compromised data included SF-86 forms which contain intimate details about the prospective employees personal life, family members, and other contacts.
Security Clearance Databases & Systems
Other Potentially Compromised Systems
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If You Were Subject To The Data Breaches Of The Us Office Of Personnel Management And Its Contractor And You Experienced An Out
You may be eligible to receive a payment from a proposed $63,000,000 class action settlement.
The lawsuit is about the data breaches of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management in 2014 and 2015 and its security contractor in 2013 and 2014 that allegedly compromised personal information of then-current and former federal government employees and contractors, as well as certain applicants for federal employment. The Defendants in the caseOPM and its contractor, known now as Peraton Risk Decision Inc. and previously as KeyPoint Government Solutions, Inc.deny that they did anything wrong and dispute that they have any liability, but have agreed to settle the lawsuit.
To be eligible to make a claim for payment, your personal information must have been compromised in the data breaches, and you must also have suffered an out-of-pocket expense or lost compensable time:
Eligible claimants under the Settlement will receive $700 or the actual amount of the claimwhichever is greaterup to a maximum of $10,000, unless the total value of all valid claims, plus any incentive awards to named plaintiffs, exceeds the amount of money in the fund.
Theft Of Security Clearance Information
The data breach compromised highly sensitive 127-page Standard Form 86 . SF-86 forms contain information about family members, college roommates, foreign contacts, and psychological information. Initially, OPM stated that family members’ names were not compromised, but the OPM subsequently confirmed that investigators had “a high degree of confidence that OPM systems containing information related to the background investigations of current, former, and prospective federal government employees, to include U.S. military personnel, and those for whom a federal background investigation was conducted, may have been exfiltrated.” The Central Intelligence Agency, however, does not use the OPM system therefore, it may not have been affected.
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Dc Circuit Holds That Heightened Risk Of Future Injury Can Constitute An Injury In Fact For Article Iii Standing
Recent Case: 928 F.3d 42
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management maintains a large volume of sensitive private information about federal government employees.7×7.In re OPM, 928 F.3d at 4950. This information is collected for electronic personnel files, as well as background checks and security clearance investigations. Id. at 50. OPM employs a private firm, KeyPoint Government Solutions, Inc. , to help with internal investigations, which necessitates granting KeyPoint access to the OPM database.8×8.Id. at 50. As early as 2007, OPMs Inspector General had warned the agency about major information security deficiencies in its network, but OPM did not address these concerns.9×9.Id. at 51. Between November 2013 and November 2014, unidentified cyberattackers stole the sensitive data of over twenty-one million people from OPMs network using stolen KeyPoint credentials.10×10.Seeid. at 4950. The impacted individuals brought suit against both OPM and KeyPoint for negligence and violation of federal statutes, including the Privacy Act of 1974.11×11. 5 U.S.C. § 552a ). A few of these plaintiffs alleged that they had already experienced fraud and identity theft since the data breach.12×12.SeeIn re U.S. Office of Pers. Mgmt. Data Sec. Breach Litig. , 266 F. Supp. 3d 1, 8, 14 . The suits were transferred to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for pretrial proceedings.13×13.Id. at 14.
Opm Data Breach Resulted In Theft Of Highly Sensitive Information
On June 4, 2015, OPM announced that it had been the subject of a massive cyber attack that compromised millions of federal applicants personal identifiable information, records, and other sensitive information.
According to Defendants OPM and KeyPoint, the June 2015 data breach resulted in the theft of millions of SF-86 applications, which are detailed 127-page forms that include data regarding applicants social security numbers, financial histories and investment records, childrens and relatives names, foreign trips taken and contacts with foreign nationals, past residences, and names of neighbors and close friends such as college roommates and coworkers.
Eighteen proposed class action lawsuits filed against OPM, its officers and director, and KeyPoint allege that the defendants in the consolidated litigation had for years been aware of significant cyber security vulnerabilities yet failed to take adequate measures to prevent the breach.
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