Feds Investigate FBI, DHS Alleged Data Breach

The Justice spokesman said that as of now, there is no indication that any “sensitive personally identifiable information” was lost.

by Sean Sposito, San Francisco Chronicle / February 10, 2016
FBI Director James Comey flickr/Brookings Institution

(TNS) -- The Department of Justice is investigating whether a hacker breached its systems and obtained personal and contact information of roughly 29,000 FBI and Department of Homeland Security employees.

On Monday morning, a cache of records said to contain FBI and Homeland information was posted on CryptoBin — a public service that is meant to help users share text. It was accessible to anyone who used the password “lol.”

It’s unclear whether the data contains valid information. The page hosting the data appeared to have been taken down by Tuesday afternoon.

“The department is looking into the unauthorized access of a system operated by one of its components containing employee contact information,” a Justice Department spokesman said in an e-mail.

“This unauthorized access is still under investigation.”

Vice broke news of the supposed breach, but declined to identify the hacker who claims to be behind it.

The Twitter account that linked to the data and published the password uses a name too crude to print. It initially tweeted last month, has repeatedly used the hashtag #FreePalestine and recently used the social network to seek legal counsel.

“Anyone got a good lawyer ?!?!?” it tweeted Tuesday.

The Justice spokesman said that — as of now — there is no indication that any “sensitive personally identifiable information” was lost.

“The department takes this very seriously and is continuing to deploy protection and defensive measures to safeguard information,” he said. “Any activity that is determined to be criminal in nature will be referred to law enforcement for investigation.”

That alleged breach made news days before President Obama announced a $19 billion plan improve public and private sector coordination on matters of privacy and cybersecurity.

Obama’s 2017 fiscal budget proposal calls for a $5 billion increase this year, including $3.1 billion to update technology at federal agencies.

©2016 the San Francisco Chronicle Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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