5.6 million fingerprints stolen in U.S. personnel data hack: government

admin   •   September 24, 2015   •   2517

FILE PHOTO: A person wearing a balaclava is silhouetted as he poses with a laptop in front of a screen projected with the word 'cyber' and binary code, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica October 29, 2014. REUTERS/DADO RUVIC/FILES

FILE PHOTO: A person wearing a balaclava is silhouetted as he poses with a laptop in front of a screen projected with the word ‘cyber’ and binary code, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica October 29, 2014.
REUTERS/DADO RUVIC/FILES

Hackers who stole security clearance data on millions of Defense Department and other U.S. government employees got away with about 5.6 million fingerprint records, some 4.5 million more than initially reported, the government said on Wednesday.

The additional stolen fingerprint records were identified as part of an ongoing analysis of the data breach by the Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Defense, OPM said in a statement. The data breach was discovered this spring and affected security clearance records dating back many years.

The news came just ahead of a state visit to Washington by Chinese President Xi Jinping. U.S. officials have privately blamed the breach on Chinese government hackers, but they have avoided saying so publicly.

President Barack Obama has said cybersecurity will be a major focus of his talks with Xi at the White House on Friday. The United States has told China that industrial espionage in cyberspace by its government or proxies is “an act of aggression that has to stop,” Obama said recently.

U.S. officials have said no evidence has surfaced yet suggesting the stolen data has been abused, though they fear the theft could present counterintelligence problems.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Wednesday the investigation into the data breach, which affected the records of some 21.5 million federal workers, was continuing and he did not “have any conclusions to share publicly about who may or may not have been responsible.”

He indicated the OPM announcement was not related to Xi’s visit but instead came about because officials at OPM had met with members of Congress and told them about the fingerprints and so needed to release the information to the public as well.

Officials from OPM and the Defense Department only recently discovered that the additional fingerprints had been stolen as they continued to assess the data breach, OPM said in a statement.

During that process, officials “identified archived records containing additional fingerprint data not previously analyzed,” the OPM statement said. As a result, the estimated number of people who had fingerprint records stolen rose to 5.6 million from the 1.1 million initially reported, it said.

OPM said the total number of people affected by the breach was still believed to be 21.5 million.

The agency downplayed the danger posed by stolen fingerprint records, saying the ability to misuse the data is currently limited. But it acknowledged the threat could increase over time as technology evolves.

“An interagency working group with expertise in this area … will review the potential ways adversaries could misuse fingerprint data now and in the future,” it said.

The group includes members of the intelligence community as well as the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the Pentagon.

“If, in the future, new means are developed to misuse the fingerprint data, the government will provide additional information to individuals whose fingerprints may have been stolen in this breach,” OPM said.

Senator Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican who has accused the administration of failing to take cybersecurity seriously, said the OPM announcement was further evidence that officials viewed the data breach as “a PR (public relations) crisis instead of a national security threat.”

The individuals affected by the breach have not yet been notified. The OPM statement said the personnel office and Defense Department were working together to begin mailing notifications to those affected.

(Additional reporting by Jeff Mason and Mark Hosenball; Editing by Susan Heavey and Andrew Hay)

Online child abuse leading cybercrime in PH

Marje Pelayo   •   April 16, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has noted that online child abuse is the top cybercrime in the Philippines.

According to UNICEF Country Representative Julia Rees, the massive presence of Filipino children online makes them “vulnerable to online sexual abuse and exploitation.”

UNICEF argued that such crimes are made possible with new technologies, such as live streaming which puts more Filipino children at risk.

The National Baseline Survey on Violence Against Children shows cyber violence is affecting one in two Filipino children aged 13 to 17.

“One in three internet users is a child,” Rees said.

“While the government has been trying to respond to the demand, breadth, scope and agility of the technology-not to mention the extreme accessibility of digital platforms – there must be more that we can do together to protect our children,” she added.

To help protect Filipino children from online abuse, the Australian Embassy in Manila pledged to provide P298 million over the next six years to fund the SaferKidsPH program which aims at reducing online sexual exploitation in the country.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson said, “Addressing online sexual exploitation and abuse of children is a global concern.”

Through the SaferKidsPH project, the Australian government reinforces its commitment to support the Philippine government in its efforts to address cyber abuse and violence which he considers a “complex form of human trafficking.” – Marje Pelayo

NPC probes 7 hacked gov’t websites

Marje Pelayo   •   April 24, 2018

 

MANILA, Philippines — Seven government websites were hacked in the first week of April this year.

The agencies affected by the hacking activity were:

  1. Taguig City University
  2. Department of Education – Bacoor, Cavite
  3. Department of Education – Calamba, Laguna
  4. Bulacan Provincial Government
  5. Philippine Carabao Center
  6. Republic Center Colleges in Angeles City
  7. Laguna State Polytechnic University

Despite the incident, none of the agencies’ personal information controllers (PICs) reported the problem to the National Privacy Commission (NPC.) PICs are the persons in charge of government agency websites.

The incident prompted the NPC to look into the matter and find out why the PICs failed to immediately alert the commission.

According to NPC, the hackers were able to post on Facebook all pertinent information such as e-mail accounts, password, contact info and addresses of around 2,000 officials in the affected websites.

The agency expressed concern over the incident as such hacking of personal information is likely to result in identity fraud. — Mon Jocson | UNTV News & Rescue

Police nab suspect in Nueva Ecija hacking spree

admin   •   April 23, 2018

Suspect Jesse Tesoro

The Nueva Ecija Provincial Police arrested the suspect in a massacre of six in Barangay Tambo Adorable in San Leonardo, Nueve Ecija on Friday.

Witnesses said suspect Jesse Flores, 41, had a heated argument over a cellphone memory card with his live-partner and cousin, Jennifer Tesoro, 24, the night before the crime.

Investigator SPO1 Israel Santiago said they were able to arrest Flores after an intensified manhunt operation in the province.

Flores admitted that he was hurt as their relatives were forcing them to end their relationship.

“Uminom po ako, pinaghihiwalay po kami (I had been drinking that time. They wanted to keep us apart), ” he confessed.

The fatalities include his partner Jennifer; their brother in law Sonny Custodio; Sergio Tesoro, 29; Amy Tesoro, 12; Joshua Tesoro, 10; and the childrens’ mother, Leonila Tesoro.

The wounded, Analyn Tesoro, 20, is now recovering at Dr Paulino J Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center.

Also spared from the crime are one year old Julie Ann Cariaga and five year old Shane Custodia who were sleeping inside the bedroom when the incident happened.

The suspect is now facing charges of multiple murder and is detained at San Leonardo Police Station in Nueva Ecija. — UNTV News & Rescue

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