A massive hack of government personnel files is being treated as the work of foreign spies who could possibly use the information to sneak their way into more-secure computers and plunder U.S. secrets.
Dan Payne, a senior counterintelligence official for the Director of National Intelligence, told federal employees Friday to change their passwords, put fraud alerts on their credit reports and watch for attempts by foreign intelligence services to exploit them.
“Some of you may think that you are not of interest because you don’t have access to classified information,” he said. “You are mistaken.”
Federal officials said Friday the cyberattack appeared to have emanated in China, but did not point fingers directly at the Chinese government. The Chinese responded saying any accusation would be “irresponsible and unscientific.”
“We know that the attack occurred from somewhere in China, but we don’t know whether it was an individual or a group or a nation-state attack,” said Rep. Jim Langevin, a Rhode Island Democrat and leading voice in Congress on cybersecurity. He added, though that it had “all the hallmarks of a nation-state attack.” (Read more from “What Was Stolen?: Massive Cybersecurity Breach Raises Concerns About What Hackers Stole” HERE)