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US feds pull travel site offline after hacker break-in

GovTrip trips up

Website security in corporate America

A travel reservations website used by US government agencies remains offline more than a week after it was infected with malware that tried to install malicious code on the PCs of those who visited the site.

Agencies including the Federal Aviation Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Transportation all reportedly directed employees not to use the website until further notice. (Those advisories presumably were sent prior to the the site being taken down).

"Employees should not access GovTrip from any DOT/FHWA PC while at work and we strongly suggest employees refrain from any attempts to access GovTrip using a home system or government-issued laptop as this could cause the PC to be infected with a virus that may not be detected by your anti-virus software," a Department of Transportation email sent to employees read, according to Brian Krebs's Security Fix blog, which first reported the security lapse.

The breach comes two weeks after hackers broke into the Federal Aviation Administration's computer system and accessed the names and Social Security numbers of 45,000 employees and retirees.

The General Services Administration issued a statement earlier this week that confirmed the attack took place on February 11 and said "no personal data was known to be compromised." It has yet to issue an update, and representatives didn't immediately return a phone call. Defense contractor Northrop Grumman, which Security Fix says manages the computer system, has declined to comment.

"While the attack and potential compromising of employees personal and financial information is troubling enough, perhaps more so is the complete lack of information released on this subject," Nextgov.com complained. ®

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