Feeds

US Department of Energy: Which bright spark just hacked us?

Data on hundreds of staffers leaked, but at least it wasn't 'classified' - report

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Personal information on several hundred employees at the the US Department of Energy has been compromised as the result of a hack attack, according to media reports.

The FBI is reportedly investigating the attack, which was detected around two weeks ago. According to officials quoted in the Washington Free Beacon, the damage appears to have been limited to 14 servers and 20 desktop workstations at the DoE's HQ. Although the breach might have ultimately been aimed at gaining access to classified systems, early indications are that no classified info was compromised, according to an official letter from the agency to its employees seen by Reuters.

For now the identity of the hackers and how they went about accessing vulnerable systems remains unclear. However two months ago, an official government report criticised the Department of Energy for its tardiness in patching desktop systems. More than half of the agency's desktops had failed to apply patches issued months beforehand, according to an assessment by the DoE's inspector general.

This is exactly the sort of basic security mistake - akin to leaving gaps in the fencing around sensitive buildings - that makes life easier for potential intruders. China has unsurprisingly emerged as among the most likely suspects behind the hack attack, at least according to early reports of the breach, which are notably thin in furnishing any evidence to back up this suspicion.

More commentary on the breach can be found in blog posts by Graham Cluley of Sophos here and Rik Ferguson of Trend Micro here. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks
Intel bods' analysis concludes 'no significant change' after whistle was blown
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.