The US Department of Energy recently confirmed that computers and servers at its Washington headquarters were compromised in mid-January. An e-mail sent to employees late last week confirmed the attack, citing that the personal data of several hundred employees and contractors may have been compromised in the process.
The e-mail further noted that the Department’s Cybersecurity Team, the Office of Health, Safety and Security and the Inspector General’s office were all working with federal authorities to gather more information on the nature and the scope of the attack. Together they will assess the impact it had on the department.
The DOE said that individuals affected by the attack will be personally notified and offered assistance in dealing with any fallout such as identity theft. Furthermore, they are looking into extra measures that can be taken to prevent a similar attack in the future. This includes boosting network monitoring resources and using special defense tools to protect personal information.
Until then, employees are being urged to encrypt files and emails containing sensitive information. Employees are also being told not to e-mail non work-related personal information on DOE computers.
All of this comes in the wake of recent cyber attacks affecting the computer systems of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. While there’s no indication that the attacks are related to the one on the DOE, it’s worth pointing out that the Times believe the Chinese military were responsible for attacks on their network.