OPM data breach: Looking at you, China! National Intelligence head stares out Beijing

You've gotta hand it to 'em, says Clapper


James Clapper, Director of the US' National Intelligence body, has suggested Beijing is behind the successful attacks on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which resulted in the theft of millions of federal employees' (including intelligence workers) highly sensitive biographies.

Clapper, who reports directly to the President, told a conference in Washington yesterday that Beijing was the "leading suspect" as the US attempts to attribute the attacks.

OPM Director, Katherine Archuleta, has been standing before successive senate hearings since the attack was first disclosed.

At a Homeland Security hearing yesterday (25 June), Archuleta was grilled by former presidential candidate Senator John McCain, who bullishly asked her if she was ready to admit that the Chinese were responsible for the attack.

Archuleta said she would defer to her state colleagues to comment on such matters.

Clapper has now done just that, going so far as to say that "you have to kind of salute the Chinese for what they did", although the lack of IT security at OPM invited much comment at the recent hearing.

The Wall Street Journal reports that additional comments made by Clapper "appeared to be alluding to an internal battle within the White House on how to best respond to cyberattacks. He said the lack of a threat of retribution from the US government means policy makers must focus 'a lot more attention to defence'".

Clapper stated that the challenge the US faced was that "until such time as we can create both the substance and the psychology of deterrence, this is going to go on."

"And that's been frankly a struggle for us, because of concerns about unintended consequences and other related policy issues," he added. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Ubuntu 21.10: Plan to do yourself an Indri? Here's what's inside... including a bit of GNOME schooling

    Plus: Rounded corners make GNOME 40 look like Windows 11

    Review Canonical has released Ubuntu 21.10, or "Impish Indri" as this one is known. This is the last major version before next year's long-term support release of Ubuntu 22.04, and serves as a good preview of some of the changes coming for those who stick with LTS releases.

    If you prefer to run the latest and greatest, 21.10 is a solid release with a new kernel, a major GNOME update, and some theming changes. As a short-term support release, Ubuntu 21.10 will be supported for nine months, which covers you until July 2022, by which point 22.04 will already be out.

    Continue reading
  • Heart FM's borkfast show – a fine way to start your day

    Jamie and Amanda have a new co-presenter to contend with

    There can be few things worse than Microsoft Windows elbowing itself into a presenting partnership, as seen in this digital signage for the Heart breakfast show.

    For those unfamiliar with the station, Heart is a UK national broadcaster with Global as its parent. It currently consists of a dozen or so regional stations with a number of shows broadcast nationally. Including a perky breakfast show featuring former Live and Kicking presenter Jamie Theakston and Britain's Got Talent judge, Amanda Holden.

    Continue reading
  • Think your phone is snooping on you? Hold my beer, says basic physics

    Information wants to be free, and it's making its escape

    Opinion Forget the Singularity. That modern myth where AI learns to improve itself in an exponential feedback loop towards evil godhood ain't gonna happen. Spacetime itself sets hard limits on how fast information can be gathered and processed, no matter how clever you are.

    What we should expect in its place is the robot panopticon, a relatively dumb system with near-divine powers of perception. That's something the same laws of physics that prevent the Godbot practically guarantee. The latest foreshadowing of mankind's fate? The Ethernet cable.

    By itself, last week's story of a researcher picking up and decoding the unintended wireless emissions of an Ethernet cable is mildly interesting. It was the most labby of lab-based demos, with every possible tweak applied to maximise the chances of it working. It's not even as if it's a new discovery. The effect and its security implications have been known since the Second World War, when Bell Labs demonstrated to the US Army that a wired teleprinter encoder called SIGTOT was vulnerable. It could be monitored at a distance and the unencrypted messages extracted by the radio pulses it gave off in operation.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021