This is scary. Typically, when we tell you about a major data breach, it involves a company like Target, whose customer data has been stolen.
But data breaches get seriously scary when it involves the United States government. That's just what happened on Super Bowl Sunday and again yesterday by hackers who seem politically motivated, and are possibly terrorists.
"This is for Palestine, Ramallah, West Bank, Gaza," the hackers wrote when they published the names, titles, phone numbers, and email addresses for 9,355 Department of Homeland Security employees. The stolen information was for all levels of DHS staffers, including at least 100 DHS intelligence agents. "This is for the child that is searching for an answer."
The hackers published the DHS employees' data on Twitter. At the time, they threatened to also release staff directories for Federal Bureau of Investigation employees.
On Monday, these hackers did just that. They released the names, titles and email addresses for 22,175 FBI employees.
The hackers say they also stole Department of Justice employees' IDs, and some 200GB of information from the DOJ's intranet, which is comparable to an internal Internet.
So, how'd the hackers steal tens of thousands of government employees' personal information? It appears that human error was to blame, although details about how the breach occurred are murky.
The hackers claim that they called the Department of Justice and "social engineered" access to the DOJ's employee portal. The implication is that someone at the DOJ may have given the hacker some clues about how to access it, likely inadvertently.
Once the hackers had access to the DOJ portal, they claim they were able to access its intranet. Keep reading Happening Now for updated information about this Washington, D.C., hack.