06.14.15

Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and Microsoft Windows

Posted in Microsoft, Windows at 6:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Server

Summary: A look at lesser-explored aspects of the so-called OPN hack [sic], especially the systems involved

IN AN EFFORT to understand what repeatedly happened in the undoubtedly significant Office of Personnel Management (OPM) data breach/es [2-8], leaving aside the lack of concrete evidence of Chinese role [1], we tried to understand which platform was to blame. In the case of Sony it was reportedly a Microsoft Windows machine acting as the culprit or attack vector, just like Stuxnet in Iran with similar attempts against North Korea (there are still more articles about it).

“Hundreds of millions of credit card numbers got snatched from Windows.”NSA leaks were due to Microsoft SharePoint (Snowden gained access to the so-called ‘crown jewels’). As we last noted in an article about words from Kaspersky (still in headlines for it [9-12]), Windows is inherently not secure. Commercial targets of data breached that we wrote about before serve to show this. We gave readers a lot of examples over the years. Hundreds of millions of credit card numbers got snatched from Windows. the cost was enormous, but the role of Windows wasn’t ever emphasised in the corporate press.

Rebecca Abrahams published an article co-authored by Dr. Stephen Bryen, Founder & CTO of FortressFone Technologies. Unlike many other articles which point a finger at China (with little to actually back this accusation with), Abrahams does call out Windows and sheds light on what OPM uses:

Second, the government is very slow to improve security on its computers and networks. Many of the computers the government is using are antique. For example OPM still has 12-year old Windows XT as an operating system for its computers. Microsoft no longer supports XT and any vulnerability that develops is the problem of the user, not of the supplier. But even if the old stuff was upgraded it won’t help much because the systems are really clumsy amalgams of disparate parts which as a “system,” have never been properly vetted for security.

So there we go. Windows. We’re hardly surprised to say the least. The author probably means NT or XP (14 years old, not 12, unlike Server 2003), but does it matter much? Any version of Windows, no matter how old, is not secure. It’s not even designed to be secure.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. US wronging of China for cyber breaches harm mutual trust

    Out of ulterior motives, some US media and politicians have developed a habit of scapegoating China for any alleged cyber attack on the United States. Such groundless accusations would surely harm mutual trust between the two big powers of today’s world.

  2. The Massive Hack on US Personnel Agency is Worse Than Everyone Thought

    Last week, the human resources arm of the US government, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) admitted that it had been victim of a massive data breach, where hackers stole personal data belonging to as many as 4 million government workers.

  3. Feds Who Didn’t Even Discover The OPM Hack Themselves, Still Say We Should Give Them Cybersecurity Powers

    We already described how the recent hack into the US federal government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) appears to be much more serious than was initially reported. The hack, likely by Chinese state hackers, appear to have obtained basically detailed personal info on all current and many former federal government employees.

  4. China-linked hackers get data on CIA, NSA personnel with security-clearance: report

    China-linked hackers appear to have gained access to sensitive background information submitted by US intelligence and military personnel for security clearances that could potentially expose them to blackmail, the Associated Press reported on Friday.

    In a report citing several US officials, the news agency said that data on nearly all of the millions of US security-clearance holders, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA) and military special operations personnel, were potentially exposed in the attack on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

  5. Second OPM Hack Revealed: Even Worse Than The First

    And yet… this is the same federal government telling us that it wants more access to everyone else’s data to “protect” us from “cybersecurity threats” — and that encryption is bad? Yikes.

  6. Dossiers on US spies, military snatched in ‘SECOND govt data leak’

    A second data breach at the US Office of Personnel Management has compromised even more sensitive information about government employees than the first breach that was revealed earlier this week, sources claim. It’s possible at least 14 million Americans have chapter and verse on their lives leaked, we’re told.

    The Associated Press reports that hackers with close ties to China are believed to have obtained extensive background information on intelligence-linked government staffers – from CIA agents and NSA spies to military special ops – who have applied for security clearances.

    Among the records believed to have leaked from a compromised database are copies of Standard Form 86 [PDF], a questionnaire that is given to anyone who applies for a national security position, and is typically verified via interviews and background checks.

  7. Officials: Second hack exposed military and intel data
  8. Senate Quickly Says ‘No Way’ To Mitch McConnell’s Cynical Ploy To Add Bogus Cybersecurity Bill To NDAA

    Earlier this week, we noted that Senator Mitch McConnell, hot off of his huge flop in trying to preserve the NSA’s surveillance powers, had promised to insert the dangerous “cybersecurity” bill CISA directly into the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act). As we discussed, while many have long suspected that CISA (and CISPA before it) were surveillance bills draped in “cybersecurity” clothing, the recent Snowden revelations that the NSA is using Section 702 “upstream” collection for “cybersecurity” issues revealed how CISA would massively expand the NSA’s ability to warrantlessly wiretap Americans’ communications.

  9. “Don’t Hack Me! That’s a Bad Idea,” Says Eugene Kaspersky to APT Groups
  10. Russian Software Security Lab Hacked, Indirectly Links Attack To NSA
  11. Israel, NSA May Have Hacked Antivirus Firm Kaspersky Lab

    Moscow-based antivirus firm Kaspersky Lab, famous for uncovering state-sponsored cyberattacks, today dropped its biggest bombshell yet: Its own computer networks were hit by state-sponsored hackers, probably working for Israeli intelligence or the U.S. National Security Agency. The same malware also attacked hotels that hosted ongoing top-level negotiations to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

  12. Protocols of the Hackers of Zion?

    When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Google chairman Eric Schmidt on Tuesday afternoon, he boasted about Israel’s “robust hi-tech and cyber industries.” According to The Jerusalem Post, “Netanyahu also noted that ‘Israel was making great efforts to diversify the markets with which it is trading in the technological field.’”

    Just how diversified and developed Israeli hi-tech innovation has become was revealed the very next morning, when the Russian cyber-security firm Kaspersky Labs, which claims more than 400 million users internationally, announced that sophisticated spyware with the hallmarks of Israeli origin (although no country was explicitly identified) had targeted three European hotels that had been venues for negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

    Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, one of the first news sources to break the story, reported that Kaspersky itself had been hacked by malware whose code was remarkably similar to that of a virus attributed to Israel. Code-named “Duqu” because it used the letters DQ in the names of the files it created, the malware had first been detected in 2011. On Thursday, Symantec, another cyber-security firm, announced it too had discovered Duqu 2 on its global network, striking undisclosed telecommunication sites in Europe, North Africa, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia. It said that Duqu 2 is much more difficult to detect that its predecessor because it lives exclusively in the memory of the computers it infects, rather than writing files to a drive or disk.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2015/06/14/opm-uses-old-windows/

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 10/4/2021: Linux on M1, Wine 6.6, ClamAV 0.103.2

    Links for the day



  2. Lunduke: On Mob Justice in the Tech Industry

    A new video from the former Microsofter who fears the phenomenon that’s adopted by companies like IBM



  3. IRC Proceedings: Friday, April 09, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, April 09, 2021



  4. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag — Appendix (Benoît Battistelli's Vichy Syndrome): Georges Henri Léon Battistelli and Charles Robert Battistelli

    Local copies with evidence of or something concrete about Benoît Battistelli’s connection to unsavoury — and by today’s standards outright fascistic — politics



  5. IBM Doubles Down on Masters Being an Acceptable Word in the Context of Technology

    3 days after this post which disproves IBM's stance or shows its double standards it once again says “Masters” in its official blog (won’t that offend and alienate some people as they insist?)



  6. Hate Letter Against Richard Matthew Stallman (RMS) Backfired So Spectacularly That Signers Asked to Revoke Their Own Signatures and the List Was Then Frozen Permanently (Updated)

    "An open letter in support of Richard Matthew Stallman being reinstated by the Free Software Foundation" tops 6,100 signatures (graph generated just moments ago)



  7. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 11: The BMJV's Tweedledee: Dr Christoph Ernst

    The right-hand man of António Campinos plays a role similar to that of Herr Lutz before him



  8. Links 9/4/2021: Tanglet 1.6.0 and HPVM 1.0

    Links for the day



  9. The Libel Against Richard Stallman Did Not Age Well

    Almost 2 years down the line libel about the founder of the FSF remains online, uncorrected (in sites funded by Microsoft and IBM)



  10. The Letter in Support of the FSF and Richard Stallman is Backed by the International Community, Not American Monopolies and Nationalistic Elements

    Free software is for everybody to use, internationally, it is not the asset of a bunch of current and old monopolists (connected to the US military) that also control the media; the nature of the signatures says that out loud



  11. Gemini Over IPFS (Decentralised Web, Accessed Over Gemini Protocol)

    The Gemini protocol (gemini://) can already be used to fetch (at the back end) and present objects from a P2P-like network; we're currently exploring practical use cases and possibilities



  12. News Sites That Talk About Patents Have Become Shameless Self-Promotion 'Plugs' by Law Firms (and Sometimes Outright 'Spam' for Litigation)

    The sources of news about patent affairs have dried up; sites that actually used to investigate and report facts have since then shut down or defected to the Public Relations/marketing industry



  13. Links 9/4/2021: Kubernetes 1.21 and FFmpeg 4.4 Released

    Links for the day



  14. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, April 08, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, April 08, 2021



  15. [Meme] Self-styled Judges

    To suit a recurring theme at the EPO we hereby present Roland Lutz, a self-styled judge



  16. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 10: A Faithful Lapdog Despised and Reviled by EPO Staff

    "In any event, the "Nazi" jibes directed against Lutz seem to have triggered Battistelli who decided to take revenge on his perceived enemies inside the EPO by smearing them as “Nazis”."



  17. Links 8/4/2021: GnuPG 2.3.0, Xen 4.15, Xfdashboard 0.9.2

    Links for the day



  18. The Hate Letter Which Backfired

    The FSF is more closely aligned with its founder's vision, his antagonists have left or are leaving, and that old hate letter turned out to be a loud minority (made to appear louder by biased media) emboldened by a gish gallop of lies



  19. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, April 07, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, April 07, 2021



  20. IBM: We Can Say It... You Cannot

    Blog posts such as this new one help show the hypocrisy or the double standards of IBM, looking to control speech while attacking people's (software) freedom/civil liberties and profiting from atomic bombs



  21. The Collapse of Microsoft Windows

    Although the corporate media keeps insisting that Microsoft is doing well, government (or military) bailouts keep the company afloat while its desperate attempts to remain relevant (as the common carrier languishes) merit a debate



  22. Links 8/4/2021: Mesa 21.0.2, GNU Releases, and Stable Kernels

    Links for the day



  23. Petition in Support of FSF's Decision to Put Its Founder in the Board Doubles Size of Hate Letter Propped Up by Corporate Media (Partly Funded by Monopolies)

    You cannot fool the population for eternity and there's a reflexive response to a campaign of misinformation, as the graph above shows; notice it keeps growing and growing, albeit not the defamatory one from the (Google-funded) Mozilla- and Red Hat-connected Luis Villa, who put in the GNONE Foundation Microsoft people



  24. EPOLeaks on Misleading the Bundestag -- Part 9: A Veritable Virtuoso of Legal Sophistry

    "Lutz is also reputed to be closely linked to the German branch of the influential UPC lobby group centred around Prof. Winfried Tilmann."



  25. He Said, Xi Said: Hard to Censor Techrights and It's More Than a Web Site

    An explanation of some of the latest Techrights changes (mostly work on IPFS and Gemini this week, as they complement the Web site)



  26. A Patent System for Giant Corporations Like Boeing and Airbus, Not for Ordinary European Citizens

    There's hardly any illusion left that the patent system in Europe is supposed to serve the public; instead what we're seeing is an office that lost sight of its purpose and is instead trying to make law firms and their largest clients richer



  27. Links 7/4/2021: Godot 3.3 RC 8, Canonical Targets Robotics

    Links for the day



  28. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, April 06, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, April 06, 2021



  29. Pro-Free Software Foundation Petition Soon Reaching 6,000 Signatures (and Still Rising Steadily)

    It seems rather apparent that not many people have been conned by the hateful corporations, their corporate media, and corporate-led (or funded) NGOs that insisted FSF should reject its very own founder



  30. Links 7/4/2021: “Getting Things GNOME” Reaches 0.5, IBM Boasts Its Role in Masters

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts