The new cybersecurity adviser hired by the Office of Personnel Management after a Chinese-originated hack says he expects ISIS may ultimately pierce the agency’s systems, too.
The historic data breach exposed the professional and private lives of 21.5 million individuals applying for clearances to handle classified information, plus their families. That kind of information, drawn from background investigations, would be perfect for blackmail attempts.
But Clifton Triplett — named OPM’s first-ever senior cyber and information technology adviser last month – says forthcoming access controls will blunt the severity of any future hack.
“I think what I have to do is . . . assume that, at some point in time, they may be successful,” Triplett said when asked about the ISIS cyber threat during a webcast hosted by Bloomberg Government on Monday.
Going forward, OPM will “make it more of a need-to-know kind of access control,” he said, “so if we do have a compromise, it is far more contained than, for example, our last incident.”
The agency, he explained, will institute the equivalent of tear lines on network data to grant as little information as possible to authorized personnel.
“Right now, I think, in some of our situations, the access control is broader than perhaps needs to be,” Triplett said, because OPM computer programs were developed before data security became a governmentwide priority.
So far, ISIS sympathizers have been hacking more for show, than for spying.