Following the lengthy breach of the White House, new documents reveal that cybercriminals may have gained access the personal details for several thousand Americans, the Senate said.
The United States Senate Commerce Committee has written an urgent letter to President Barack Obama regarding the recent White House breach, to assure hackers “have not compromised the personally identifiable information of our fellow Americans.”
Lawmakers have been working towards identifying to scope of the State Department hack that occurred last year, which led to the eventual hacking of the White House networks.
Those who visited the White House during the attack may have had their personal information stolen, seeing as “an individual must submit his or her date of birth, [S]ocial [S]ecurity number, gender, country of birth, citizenship and place of residence” when entering the White House, Thune wrote.
Senate committee chairman, John Thune wrote to President Obama, seeking an internal investigation on the White House networks to identify the scope of the breach.
In Thune’s address to Obama, he said: “Just like any entity that handles personally-identifiable information, the White House has a responsibility to notify Americans if the recent, or any future breach, results in a compromise. If such information has been lost, the White House still has a responsibility to victims even if it believes the hack was perpetrated by foreign spies and not cyber thieves.”
Thune continued on noting there have been a growing number of reports of attacks across high-ranking government agencies, which raises a serious question, are departments prepared to address these vulnerabilities and ensure a safeguard against attacks?
Officials spokespeople for the White House have noted that no classified information was compromised by Russian hackers. Though the information is listed as unclassified, digging a little deeper unveils that non-classified information is still critical. This information consists of schedules, policy discussions, emails and conversations with high-ranking authorities.
What’s particularly striking about the story is the White House and State Department both downplayed the severity of the breach for nearly 6 months, keeping information related to the breach confidential. Many officials even refused to comment when questioned on the breach.
To assure the White House breach is properly assessed, Thune has given the White House til May 15th to answer the critical questions regarding the data breach and what the administrations plans to do to prevent future attacks.
Throughout his letter, Thune begs the question, was personally identifiable information accessed by the hackers and is it at risk?
Concluding his letter, the Committee chairman has asked the White House if they have been taking proper steps to notify victims affected by the breach and has asked to explain any preemptive measures the house may taken to prevent similar attacks in the future.