China hackers broke into U.S. government computers, compromising the personal data of 4 million current and former federal employees.
Cyber investigators linked the breach to earlier thefts of healthcare records from Anthem Inc, the second largest U.S. health insurer, and Premera Blue Cross, a healthcare services provider.
Fox reported that this is the latest in a string of intrusions into U.S. agencies’ high-tech systems, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) suffered what appeared to be one of the largest breaches of information ever on government workers. The office handles employee records and security clearances.
A U.S. law enforcement source told Reuters a “foreign entity or government” was believed to be behind the cyber attack. Authorities were looking into a possible Chinese connection, a source close to the matter said.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said such accusations had been frequent of late and were irresponsible. Hacking attacks were often cross-border and hard to trace, he said.
Sources told Fox News that investigators were considering the possibility the attack was linked to another attack in October involving the White House. Fox News has also learned that the attack bears similarities to those carried out by nation-states, not by criminal syndicates.
In November, a former Department of Homeland Security official disclosed another cyberbreach that compromised the personal files of more than 25,000 DHS workers and thousands of other federal employees.
The FBI said in a statement that it was working with interagency partners to investigate the breach, while the DHS said it was continuing to monitor federal networks for suspicious activity and is “working aggressively” to investigate the extent of the breach.
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