Tags: Barack Obama | china | data | hacks | barack obama | republicans | reaction

GOP Calls on Obama to Stop Data Hacks 'On the Front End'

By    |   Thursday, 04 June 2015 09:46 PM

Top Republicans Thursday slammed yet another Chinese hacking of U.S. government computers and called on the Obama administration to move to stop the attacks "on the front end."

"It is disturbing to learn that hackers could have sensitive personal information on a huge number of current and former federal employees and … that information could be in the hands of China," said Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. "It is even more troubling that this is only the latest in a series of cyberattacks on the Office of Personnel Management.

"OPM says it 'has undertaken an aggressive effort to update its cybersecurity posture,'" Johnson added. "Plainly, it must do a better job, especially given the sensitive nature of the information it holds."

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr said that the breach proved that “cybersecurity must be one of our top priorities.

"Every day, these attacks are getting more technically advanced and now another agency has been compromised," the North Carolina Republican said. "We cannot continue to look in the other direction.

"Our response to these attacks can no longer simply be notifying people after their personal information has been stolen; we must start to prevent these breaches in the first place," Burr said.

"I fear the massive data breach at the Office of Personnel Management may turn out to be yet another example of America being walked over by rivals and adversaries," Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who has announced his candidacy for president. "The Obama administration's failures in foreign policy and national security continue to pile up yet they do nothing to change course.  I fear a cyber 'Pearl Harbor' is increasingly more likely if we do not invest in the necessary infrastructure to protect our nation."

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said that data from OPM and the Interior Department had been compromised. As many as four million present and former employees could have been exposed to the breach.

OPM detected new malicious activity affecting its information systems in April and DHS said that it concluded at the beginning of May that the agency's data had been compromised.

"The FBI is conducting an investigation to identify how and why this occurred," DHS said in a statement.

The personnel agency's computers were hacked last year. China was suspected in that breach, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, also a member of the Intelligence Committee, said that U.S. officials believe these hackers, too, were based in China.

"The ramifications are very serious," she told NBC News.

"Potentially, four million former and current federal employees have had their information compromised, and because OPM is the agencies that holds security clearances, that's giving a potential enemy like China very valuable information," she said.

Collins called the breach "yet another indication of a foreign power probing successfully and focusing on what appears to be data that would identify people with security clearances."

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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Top Republicans Thursday slammed yet another Chinese hacking of U.S. government computers and called on the Obama administration to move to stop the attacks "on the front end."
china, data, hacks, barack obama, republicans, reaction
Thursday, 04 June 2015 09:46 PM
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