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Dept. of Interior OIG Memo Cites Recurring Network Cyberattacks

Inspector General’s Statement Summarizing the Major Management and Performance Challenges Facing the U.S. Department of the Interior Report No. 2015-ER-068. November 9, 2015.

“External threats to Federal information systems are persistent and increasing, and the risk for real damage is high. Because of the large size of its networks, and because those networks contain sensitive information, DOI is a regular target of cyberattacks. In addition, DOI’s substantial connectivity with outside organizations — such as other Federal agencies, private sector companies, and universities — makes it essential that DOI protect its network to prevent sophisticated attackers from using a security flaw in a DOI system to gain unauthorized access to the outside networks DOI is connected to.Over the past few years, hackers and foreign intelligence services have compromised DOI’s computer networks by exploiting vulnerabilities in publicly accessible systems on at least 19 occasions. These security incidents resulted in the loss of sensitive data and disruption of bureau operations. Notable recent examples include: …A May 2013 attack originating from Chinese-based IP addresses gave the attackers a sustained presence inside DOI’s network. In the 4 weeks before DOI fully contained the security breach, the attackers had stolen an unknown amount of data and had uploaded malware with the intent to compromise other DOI systems…”

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