The latest in a series of hacks was directed at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This federal organization, which oversees the National Weather Service, was infiltrated in late September, but the NOAA did not inform officials or the public about the breach until nearly a month later on October 20th.
In October, the NOAA made a public statement where they acknowledged their systems would be down for “unscheduled maintenance”, but they refused to admit that they had been hacked. They did, however, bring in some cybersecurity specialists to better protect information regarding the following:
Despite the obvious implications of these protective measures, at no point did the NOAA admit that their security had been compromised. Not to the public, at least. “NOAA told me it was a hack and it was China,” said US Representative Frank Wolf, a 17-term Republican from Virginia who has held his office since 1981 when he swept into congress on the same red wave that brought Ronald Reagan to the presidency. Wolf decided not to run in 2014 and is currently serving out his last term.
“[The NOAA] deliberately mislead the American public in its replies. They had an obligation to tell the truth. They covered it up… [The information stolen] may not look significant until they’re put with something else and then they become valuable. The Chinese are stealing us blind.”
Wolf isn’t the only one upset with the NOAA. “We’re in the process of looking into the matter, including why NOAA did not comply with the requirements to notify law enforcement about the incident,” said Todd Zinser, Commerce Department Inspector General. Zinser says his office was not informed of the breach until November 2nd, well past a month after the breach occurred. Agency policy dictates that the NOAA should have notified the Commerce Department within two days of the breach.
As for now, who knows what kind of consequences the NOAA will face as a result of failing to report the breach; however, we suspect the consequences will be vast. If you’re worried about hackers, it’s best to take proper security precautions to protect yourself, such as:
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