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Computer Security Incompetence

In Attack Gave Chinese Hackers Privileged Access to U.S. Systems, the New York Times describes extreme incompetence in the American government:

Undetected for nearly a year, the Chinese intruders executed a sophisticated attack that gave them “administrator privileges” into the computer networks at the Office of Personnel Management.... ...

In congressional testimony and in interviews, officials investigating the breach at the personnel office have struggled to explain why the defenses were so poor for so long. Last week, the office’s director, Katherine Archuleta... was unable to say why the agency did not follow through on inspector general reports, dating back to 2010, that found severe security lapses.... ...she failed to explain why much of the information in the system was not encrypted.... ...

“I don’t get the sense at all they understand the problem,” said Representative Jim Langevin, a Rhode Island Democrat, who called for Ms. Archuleta’s resignation. ...

A congressional report issued in February 2014... concluded that multiple federal agencies with responsibility for critical infrastructure... “continue to leave themselves vulnerable, often by failing to take the most basic steps towards securing their systems....”

The report reserves its harshest criticism for the repeated failures of agency officials to take steps — some of them very basic — that would help thwart cyberattacks.

Computers at the Department of Homeland Security... contained hundreds of vulnerabilities as recently as 2010, according to authors of the report. They said computer security failures remained across agencies even though the government has spent “at least $65 billion” since 2006 on protective measures.''


- David Sanger, Nicole Perlroth, and Michael Shear, Attack Gave Chinese Hackers Privileged Access to U.S. Systems, New York Times, June 20, 2015



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