Oak Ridge employees impacted by DOE cyber breach [The Knoxville News-Sentinel, Tenn.]
(Knoxville News-Sentinel (TN) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Oct. 31--OAK RIDGE -- It appears that hundreds of employees at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge facilities had their personal information compromised by a cyber attack earlier this year on computer systems at DOE headquarters in Washington, although the exact number of Oak Ridge victims is not yet available.
All told, more than 104,000 DOE and contractor employees across the nation were impacted by the cyber theft that occurred in July and August when an alleged hacker from the United Kingdom and co-conspirators took advantage of a vulnerability in software to gain access to the Department of Energy's protected computers.
The U.S. Justice Department this week announced that law-enforcement authorities in the U.K. had arrested 28-year-old Lauri Love at his home in Stradishall, England. Love has been charged with infiltrating computers at multiple U.S. agencies. In addition to the Department of Energy, Love and his accomplices allegedly gained access to computers at the Army, U.S. Missile Defense Agency, Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, National Institutes of Health and others.
Even though the attack at DOE took place in July, the extent of the invasion apparently wasn't well understood at first, and most employees weren't informed that their personal information -- in some cases, even their bank account numbers -- had been compromised until earlier this month.
Most DOE offices and contractors in Oak Ridge acknowledged some of their employees were affected by the computer breach.
However, because individuals were notified individually if their information had been stolen, the institutions did not have the overall numbers.
David Keim, a spokesman for UT-Battelle, the managing contractor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, said Wednesday that about 200 lab employees were impacted by the cyber incident.
Claire Sinclair, a spokeswoman in DOE's site office at ORNL, said all 40 employees in that office had been notified that their personal information had been compromised.
B&W Y-12, managing contractor at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant, and URS-CH2M Oak Ridge, DOE's cleanup manager in Oak Ridge, confirmed that some of their employees had been affected, but they didn't know how many.
Mike Koentop, executive officer of DOE's Environmental Management Office in Oak Ridge, and John Shewairy, the assistant manager for administration at the Oak Ridge field office, also acknowledged some involvement.
In a memo sent to DOE employees, Chief of Staff Kevin Knobloch said a total of 104,179 people had their personal information compromised as a result of the cyber breach. Of those, nearly 2,800 employees had their bank account numbers stolen.
"Our utmost concern related to this incident is for the security and integrity of your personal information, including any impact of this incident on your financial and credit history," Knobloch wrote.
He called the breach "deeply unfortunate."
Love was charged in criminal complaints in Virginia and New Jersey for the broad-based assault on U.S. government computer systems.
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