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Report: Chinese hackers hit US personnel networks

China World Markets

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Chinese hackers broke into the computer networks of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management earlier this year with the intention of accessing the files of tens of thousands of federal employees who had applied for top-secret security clearances, according to The New York Times.

Senior U.S. officials say the hackers gained access to some of the agency's databases in March before the threat was detected and blocked, the Times reported in an article posted on its website Wednesday night. How far the hackers penetrated the agency's systems was not yet clear, the newspaper said.

Accusations of hacking by China and counterclaims of such activity by the U.S. government have strained U.S.-Chinese relations. Chinese hacking has been a major theme of U.S.-China discussions this week in Beijing, though both sides have publicly steered clear of the controversy.

In May, the Justice Department filed a 31-count indictment against five Chinese military officials operating under hacker aliases and accused them of penetrating computer networks of a half-dozen steel companies and makers of solar and nuclear technology to gain a competitive advantage. The Chinese government denied the allegations and suspended a working group on cyber rules that was to be part of the annual "Strategic and Economic Dialogue" this week.

The Office of Personnel Management houses personal information for all federal employees. Those applying for security clearances would be expected to provide such information as foreign contacts, previous jobs, past drug use and other personal details, the newspaper reported.

The Times quoted an unidentified senior U.S. official as saying that the attack had been traced to China but that it wasn't clear whether the hackers were part of the government. A Homeland Security Department official confirmed to the Times that an attack occurred but said no loss of personally identifiable information had been identified.

The Office of Personnel Management oversees a system by which federal employees applying for security clearances enter financial data and other personal information, the Times said, and those who maintain such clearances are required to update their information through that system. Agencies and contractors use the information to investigate employees.

The attack in March was not announced even though the Obama administration has urged U.S. companies to share information about breaches in security with the government and with consumers, the newspaper reported.

"The administration has never advocated that all intrusions be made public," Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the Obama administration, said in a statement to the Times. "We have advocated that businesses that have suffered an intrusion notify customers if the intruder had access to consumers' personal information. We have also advocated that companies and agencies voluntarily share information about intrusions."

Hayden said the administration had no reason to believe that personally identifiable information for employees had been compromised.

Chinese Hackers Target U.S. Data, But Who's Hacking Who?

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1000|Char. 1000  Char.
endmill44 July 10 2014 at 8:45 AM

And five bucks says obama i dont know nothing

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5 replies
Jay July 10 2014 at 7:29 AM

When are we the American people going to understand that Communist China hates us and the aim of all communist countries is to overtake the world? Is this a lesson we forgot from the cold war?

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5 replies
jfusco316 July 10 2014 at 8:10 AM

They are nothing but thieves. They can't make anything without stealing it from the US. So now they are trying to find out who has clearance so they can see if they are in a money bind then try to turn them into getting information for the Chinese government. They can't do anything themselves

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2 replies
attyclientpriv jfusco316 July 10 2014 at 9:13 AM

The Chinese are the slaves of the world; run the numbers - they work for rice and a tiny piece of meat every now and then. During the slave days of the USA people worked for the same payment -- because if the workers were not fed they could not do the slave work. Analyze -- what is the difference if the Chinese are presently in the same financial state as slaves were in the USA many years ago.... Now you know why the Chinese copy everything.... it's simply payback. Not to mention that they finance the USA by buying bonds. The only thing missing is the whip and the chains to make it as evil as it was to the slave people that built the USA.

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winmakr jfusco316 July 10 2014 at 11:16 AM

@attyclientpriv == The Emmys were announced today and even though your rant above is more than a tad 'overly-dramatic' your name does not appear among the nominees. Quel domage!
If there's any slavery among Americans at this time it's definitely not the type of actual chains and whips... It is rather economic oppression, abuse, over taxation that never seems to decrease no matter how many budget surpluses are announced, and worst of all is the impotence and frustration WE the people are made to withstand against a tone-deaf, power-grabbing, incompetent and uncaring executive, and the cronies who aid an abet the eedjit!

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John July 10 2014 at 8:28 AM

its time to stop buying **** made in china and hack the **** out of them its the only way they get advanced tech is by stealing it

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2 replies
onionson John July 10 2014 at 2:52 PM

We already hack them and your suggestion to stop buying from them is a stupid one for many reasons. Poor people simply won't or can't go along and free trade is what will help bring the commies down internally.

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Al P. John July 10 2014 at 8:02 PM

If the right wing GOP passed some laws discouraging outsourcing jobs we wouldn't need to stop buying made in China. Their efforts in protecting wealthy business profits has encouraged shipping jobs overseas. Bills have been introduced that reduced or eliminate tax writeoffs when US companies move jobs to foreign countries. Take one guess what party voted NO.

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TB July 10 2014 at 12:19 PM

Let me guess what Obama will do about this.....nothing?

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3 replies
buddwhyzr July 10 2014 at 10:43 AM

Spy vs Spy. Yeah,.........that will stop.

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tomkota July 10 2014 at 9:48 AM


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1 reply
belldon10 tomkota July 10 2014 at 3:38 PM

You've probably told them everything on facebook already, tomkota.

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det683 July 10 2014 at 11:40 AM

Obama wants to know what US personel networks are? And how can I turn this into a positive?

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2 replies
coreelectric det683 July 10 2014 at 11:48 AM

Is that a chinese symbol on your name?

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whydothat det683 July 10 2014 at 4:26 PM

Is being totally ignorant and a parrot of the worst network on TV rewarding?

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1 reply
shishkkab0b whydothat July 10 2014 at 7:50 PM

How did you know he watches MSNBC?

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kcarthey July 10 2014 at 7:24 AM

Meanwhile American Fifth Columnists are attacking our NSA and President for taking every step possible to protect us. I wonder where the danger comes from at times, the Chinese, the media or the American traitors the media eggs on.

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5 replies
YourFtr July 10 2014 at 1:37 PM

Meanwhile the Obama Regime accomplishes NOTHING about ANYTHING Concerning the security of the United states !!??

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2 replies
belldon10 YourFtr July 10 2014 at 3:42 PM

Yea right, Bush Cheney were SO on the ball in 2001/9/11; "terrorist plan to attack the US will planes." But they weren't specific so we couldn't warn airports LOL.

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1 reply
mackerace belldon10 July 10 2014 at 3:59 PM

while Willy Clinton had 3 opportunities to take out Osama but failed to heed the warning....and that isn't lol, numbnutz

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Al P. YourFtr July 10 2014 at 8:15 PM

That's why we haven't been attacked and Obama got Osama BinLaden. In your mind that's accomplishing Nothing about Anything.

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