PO Box 365, Marlborough, Ma 01752

Warning Social Security Hack

URGENT: The United States Office of Personnel Management suffered a cyber intrusion.  This information is being supplied to its employees who were hacked and who received a letter from OPM.

Last week I received a letter from the US Office of Personnel Management. It pointed out that “I was the target of a malicious cyber intrusion carried out against the U.S. government. Over 14 million were affected, and not all have received a letter like the one I received at the same time. With the letter was a 15-digit PIN and a website and telephone number to “take advantage of the additional credit and identity monitoring services”. I took advantage of this offer, after which my wife received a similar letter.
I contacted Bob Connors, Raytheon’s Corporate IT’s Director, Preparedness, for advice; wondering what they had provided to employees who had received this notice. Here is what he sent me, along with permission to share it.
Steps for Monitoring Your Identity and Financial Information

  • Monitor financial account statements and immediately report any suspicious or unusual activity to financial institutions.
  • Request a free credit report at www.AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228. Consumers are entitled by law to one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus – Equifax®, Experian®, and Transunion® – for a total of three reports every year. Contact information for the credit bureaus can be found on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website, www.ftc.gov.
  • Review resources provided on the FTC identity theft website, www.identitytheft.gov. The FTC maintains a variety of consumer publications providing comprehensive information on computer intrusions and identity theft.
  • You may place a fraud alert on your credit file to let creditors know to contact you before opening a new account in your name. Simply call Transunion® at 1-800-680-7289 to place this alert. Transunion® will then notify the other two credit bureaus on your behalf.

Precautions to Help You Avoid Becoming a Victim

  • Be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls, visits, or email messages from individuals asking about you, your employees, your colleagues or any other internal information. If an unknown individual claims to be from a legitimate organization, try to verify his or her identity directly with the company.
  • Do not provide personal information or information about your organization, including its structure or networks, unless you are certain of a person’s authority to have the information.
  • Do not reveal personal or financial information in email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information. This includes following links sent in email.
  • Do not send sensitive information over the Internet before checking a website’s security (for more information, see Protecting Your Privacy, www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST04-013).
  • Pay attention to the URL of a website. Malicious websites may look identical to a legitimate site, but the URL may use a variation in spelling or a different domain (e.g., .com vs. .net).
  • If you are unsure whether an email request is legitimate, try to verify it by contacting the company directly. Do not use contact information provided on a website connected to the request; instead, check previous statements for contact information. Information about known phishing attacks is also available online from groups such as the Anti-Phishing Working Group (www.antiphishing.org).
  • Install and maintain anti-virus software, firewalls, and email filters to reduce some of this traffic (for more information, see Understanding Firewalls, www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST04-004; Understanding Anti-Virus Software, www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST04-005; and Reducing Spam, http://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST04-007).
    Take advantage of any anti-phishing features offered by your email client and web browser.
    Employees should take steps to monitor their personally identifiable information and report any suspected instances of identity theft to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
    Access additional information about preventative steps by consulting the Federal Trade Commission’s website, www.identitytheft.gov. The FTC also encourages those who discover that their information has been misused to file a complaint with the commission using the contact information below.

Identity Theft Clearinghouse
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580
1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338)
TDD: 1-202-326-2502
Bob then continued “Anyone you listed on your SF86 with DoB and SSN will get a letter eventually.” SF-86 Questionnaire for National Security Positions

“The biggest danger I see immediately is spear phishing campaigns. They (hackers) will send targeted e-mails that will look like it’s from a family member, friend, Raytheon or other. They will use background info to make it look legitimate. You have to be extra vigilant when getting phone calls asking for personal info or e-mails asking you to click a link or open an attachment.”

February 8, 2016