One of the scariest parts of the massive cybersecurity breaches at the Office of Personnel Management just got worse: The agency now says 5.6 million people’s fingerprints were stolen as part of the hacks.
That’s more than five times the 1.1 million figure the agency had cited in earlier updates after the cyberattacks were disclosed over the summer. However, the agency said the total number of those believed to be caught up in the breaches remains the same.
The email attachment would tempt anyone following the diplomatic standoff between China and other countries in the South China Sea. The Microsoft Word document contained text and photos depicting Thai naval personnel capturing Vietnamese fishermen and forcing them to kneel at gunpoint.
But the attachment was a decoy: Anyone who opened it inadvertently downloaded software that searched their computers for sensitive information and sent it to an obscure corner of the Internet. Manning that corner, according to a new report from U.S. security researchers, was Ge Xing, a member of a Chinese military reconnaissance unit.
“While the civil liberties implications of vulnerable government information technology may not be readily apparent, they are nonetheless, and increasingly, significant….secure communications facilities preserve effective checks and balances in constitutional government, and insecure facilities threaten them. Those checks and balances serve as safeguards of individual liberties and civil rights. They also protect the civil liberties and privacy of the thousands of Congressional and government employees, who are themselves attractive targets of both foreign adversaries and, indeed, insider threats. Ensuring the security of Congressional communications against all interception—whether by foreign governments, criminals, or even other branches of the U.S. government or rogue Congressional staffers — would promote both basic liberty interests and national security.”
One of the more interesting cases slated for review by the Supreme Court next term is Spokeo v. Robins (here’s a WSJ blog post with an outline of some of the issues). First things first: several regular and guest contributors to this blog have written a ‘friend of the court’ brief in the case. You can find that brief here; scotusblog has the dozens of other briefs supporting one side or the other.
While I’m planning to write more about the case’s substantive legal issues (which concern Article III standing), this post will be dedicated to the small bit of silliness outlined in the title. Namely, what will the justices’ reactions be when they look themselves up on Spokeo’s service, and find results that may strike them as a bit… revealing?