NSA expert: ‘China’s hack just wrecked American espionage’

NSA expert: ‘China’s hack just wrecked American espionage’
(Image via Computer City Repair)

[Ed. – This IS very serious.  More fallout to follow.]

Another remedial measure announced by the government is 18 months of credit monitoring service and a million-dollar liability policy for identity theft — measures American Federation of Government Employees president J. David Cox found inadequate, as he noted identity thieves are “smart enough to wait 18 months before exploiting the information they took.”

That is assuming petty crime is the goal of this immense and sophisticated hacking operation. There is currently little evidence of such motivations, which is interesting, because the pilfered data would have been worth millions on the black market if sold quickly. Identity theft is a time-sensitive operation. It is important to act before the victims realize their Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, passwords, etc. have been compromised, and take remedial action.

Remember, the data breach actually happened near the end of last year — it was discovered, apparently by accident, in April, and not disclosed to the millions of victims until now. In previous identity-theft hacking operations, such as the big scores pulled off by Russian gangs over the past few years, the stolen data was sold on black-market websites while it was still fresh. …

The OPM hack represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for China and its allies, and it will be exploited in a variety of ways. One easy tactic would be leaking damaging information about Americans working overseas to hot-tempered local parties, perhaps along with intel that would assist in targeting them for the forceful expression of those hot tempers. …

Former NSA counterintelligence officer John R. Schindler, who previously advanced some valuable insights about the OPM hack on his own blog, wrote a hefty piece for the Daily Beast on Monday in which he argues “China’s hack just wrecked American espionage.”

“Armed with very private information about the personal lives of millions of security clearance holders, foreign intelligence services can blackmail and coerce vulnerable officials,” Schindler warns. …

He points out that the Chinese and their allies must now be presumed to have cracked many of the invaluable secret methods American intelligence services use to protect their agents, such as the way false identities or “legends” are constructed to protect covert operatives. The data stolen by these hackers will make it “fast and easy” to penetrate these covers and identify our agents.

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