Major Government Data Breaches: A Comprehensive Overview

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Major Government Data Breaches: A Comprehensive Overview. Remote access vpn site to site
Major Government Data Breaches: A Comprehensive Overview. Remote access vpn site to site

Constant reports of data breaches dominate headlines, revealing the vulnerability of personal records, with billions exposed annually. While attention often focuses on consumer-centric companies, government records face equal risks. Some argue that government information is even more susceptible due to a lack of incentive for protection. Governments don’t deal with brand crises or customer retention issues, making their data a prime target.

Despite this, some administrations respond to the threat. The U.S. government’s civilian cybersecurity budget grew to $9.8 billion in 2022. Let’s examine major government data breaches:

U.S. Office of Personnel Management (2015):

  • Affected nearly 22 million federal employees.
  • Blamed on state-sponsored hackers from China.
  • Leaked sensitive SF-86 forms with personal details.
  • Estimated cost to the U.S. government: $1 billion.

India’s Aadhaar (2018):

  • National ID database breach potentially affecting over 1 billion records.
  • Exposed personal information due to security vulnerabilities.
  • Indian government denied reports of the breach.

Swedish Transport Agency:

  • Botched outsourcing with IBM led to a data leak.
  • Revealed critical data about government and military entities.
  • Former agency head fined for breaching privacy laws.

Iranian Nuclear Facilities (2009):

  • Stuxnet worm targeted uranium enrichment facilities.
  • Destroyed about a thousand uranium centrifuges.
  • This led to the creation of copycat malware like Duqu and Flame.

U.S. Voter Databases (2015):

  • Personal information of 191 million American voters exposed.
  • Security lapses revealed detailed profiling information.
  • Another incident two years later affected 198 million Americans.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (Recent):

  • Hackers infiltrated Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).
  • Siphoned over 7.5 terabytes of data, revealing secret projects.
  • Contractor SyTech implicated in the breach.

SolarWinds (2020):

  • CozyBear, linked to Russian intelligence, initiated the cyberattack.
  • Targeted SolarWinds’ Orion product, affecting U.S. government entities.
  • Estimated to have gone undetected for eight to nine months.

Canadian Taxpayers (2018-2020):

  • Mishandling of data exposed the personal information of 144,000 Canadians.
  • Breaches affected various government bodies, including the Canada Revenue Agency.

Wyoming Department of Health (2021):

  • Health information of around 164,000 Wyoming residents leaked on GitHub.
  • Sensitive data included Covid-19 and flu test results.

Ministry of Defense (UK):

  • Email addresses of over 250 local interpreters mistakenly leaked.
  • Interpreters faced security risks due to the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

Office of the Washington State Auditor (2020):

  1. Hacked on Christmas Day, exposing the personal information of 1.6 million people.
  2. Third-party vendor breach compromised Social Security, driver’s license, and bank account numbers.

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