United States Department of Defense (DoD) fell victim to a cyber attack after a hacking incident took place in 2019. According to Forbes, the data breach occurred from May to July of 2019, compromising approximately 200,000 users.
The Department of Defense is responsible for secure communications for the current president, President Donald Trump. Apart from this, the office is also tasked to oversee and provide direct telecommunications and I.T. support. Reuters states that the agency lends its services for Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
Besides the leaders of the government, the said services are also extended to respective teams of the two-state leaders. The United States Secret Service and other senior members of the armed forces are also privy to these services, reports Reuters.
The hacking incident allegedly occurred after hackers gained access to a system hosted by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). Following the incident, the DoD also confirmed that it encountered a data breach which potentially affects 200,000 people.
Forbes notes that the agency’s confirmation failed to specify which servers had been affected. In addition, the news site also questions the “nature of the users to whom the letters have been sent.”
Despite hazy details of the supposed breach, the agency reached out to affected members. Among the possible compromised information included Social Security numbers and other personally identifiable information (PII) found on its network.
The agency sent out a notice letter signed by Risk Management Executive and Chief Information Officer Roger S. Greenwell. Dated February 11, 2020, the letter was sent out to an unknown number of former employees.
Though the letter shared the possibly vulnerable information to the recipients, the agency maintains that there is no evidence of the PII being misused. In light of this, the DoD will be providing free credit monitoring services.
Moreover, the U.S. Department of Defense has also enlisted security measures to prevent similar events from happening in the future. Based on the letter, the firm is also “adopting new protocols to increase protection of all PII.”
In an interview with BBC, the DoD said, “DoD networks are under attack daily and the department maintains an active posture to thwart those attacks.”
The White House has yet to comment on the issue and it also has not responded to requests for comment. Likewise, Reuters reports that Pentagon spokesperson Chuck Prichard has declined to disclose the number of people affected by the data breach.