back to article Feds investigate Homeland Security background checker security breach

A contractor running background checks for the US Department of Homeland Security has suffered a potentially embarrassing security breach. The security snafu at USIS reportedly led to the theft of some DHS employees’ personal information. The recently discovered breach prompted DHS to suspend all work with USIS, pending the …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Two Faced Government Agencies

    Funny how DHS make a big deal about someone stealing THEIR OWN PERSONAL data in a "cyber attack" on a contractor but when it happens to the White House, multiple Defense Contractors, the entire US Military, and various other companies DHS doesn't bat an eye.

    NSA steals EVERYONES data and it's a matter of National Security to do so so it must be okay.

    So much for the Department of Homeland INsecurity. They are apparently only for show.

    Maybe we should suspend all contact with DHS?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Two Faced Government Agencies

      So much for the Department of Homeland INsecurity. They are apparently only for show.

      Apparently? No, they are for show and to give the populace a warm, fuzzy feeling when flying. They're totally reactive and not proactive. Hell, unlike some countries airport security, ours are unarmed, they work as contractors for the lowest bidder and seem to all have either a control fetish or a John Wayne fetish. A look at the what has to be done to fly points that out. They brag about what they've taken from passengers in the name of safety, and how they don't profile... but checking out little old ladies and babies in arms goes a bit far. Not that there has been a granny/baby attack.... yet. What worries some of us is what doesn't get found.

      The borders are insecure but then again, we, as citizens, want our free access so what price would we pay if the borders were locked down? Should we continue with the theater called DHS or should it be changed to something more realistic.

      As for the contractor in this case... once again, lowest bidder and probably some political palm-greasing has gone a long way.

      To be a bit paranoid... if it is "state actors" who accessed the records, I'd think it's more about a bit of blackmail about having "someone look the other way" when XXXX shows up at the gate. Offering what they offer to the affected employees has become a joke....


    2. Alistair Silver badge

      Re: Two Faced Government Agencies

      Maybe we should suspend all contact with DHSThe US?


    3. RedneckMother

      Re: Two Faced Government Agencies

      re: Maybe we should suspend all contact with DHS?

      If only that were possible...

      I remember (fondly, sort of) when DHS stood for "depatment of human services" in most USA jurisdictions.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    (US CERT)

    Really.......i'm not.....check again.

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    "All the markings of a state-sponsored attack."

    Nobody left a file with "H4ckEd by TEAM PakistAN, OLOLOLOLL" on the server?

  4. Crazy Operations Guy Silver badge

    So much money wasted

    I find it hilarious (In a Kafkaesque sort of way) when you compare how much money that's been wasted on 'Homeland Security' vs. how much money Al-Qaeda spent to attack us. It worked out to be that for every person that died on 9/11 the US has spent over $10 million dollars (and rising) in revenge, where Al-Qaeda has spent a measly $5. Talk about an impressive ROI... Their goal was to make us terrified of them and to be living in constant fear; in that way it looks like they achieved a victory so perfect that it can be used as a standard for purity of diamonds.

    Especially since the easier way of destroying these 'terror groups' would have been so much cheaper: cut off their pool of recruits by helping out villages and convincing the people there that it would be far more beneficial for them to live peaceably with the West than to attack innocents. Farming, building, and manufacturing equipment is far cheaper than cruise missiles and jet fuel.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So much money wasted @ Crazy Operations Guy

      Before you perpetuate the lies, you should really try talking in person with some of your own miltary about how much they TRIED to help villagers. They DID provide what you mentioned to them in many cases and they got shot or blown up in return. The military paid top dollar for their opium too just to take it off the street.

      Unfortunately, vaccinating children against polio, measles and whooping cough is against the "teachings" of the Imams. Building real schools and educating ALL children (even females) is against their teachings as well. You can't help those who don't want it. The rules of engagement did not allow the military to shoot unless they were being shot at and even when they were sometimes.

      BTW, the USA is not the only country with a dysfunctional "Security" department. We don't have nearly as many cameras here as in London, we haven't COMPLETELY voided our civil rights like Brittain has.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: So much money wasted @ Crazy Operations Guy

        So much White Man's Burden and "Woe is me"!

        Stop considering Saudi Arabia as friend, Israel as the plucky champion, Iran as enemy and stop having the stupid idea that you can implant democracy wholesale in foreign lands that have been infected by yourselves with wild ideas back when you wanted to get the soviets out.

        Enjoy the permafail.

        1. Dan Paul

          Re: So much money wasted @ Destroy All Monsters

          You are the infection and the failure. Idiots with attitudes like you have everyone categorized and blamed before you even know what they are about. There are good people everywhere, even in Saudi Arabia, Israel and Iran. Those weren't "wild ideas", they worked when they weren't interefered with by Imams and politicians. Your anti semetic crap is epic fail, clearly obvious, thus pointless .and disregarded.

          Being a troll is all you know and the sooner you realize that the better. Smuck!

          1. Wzrd1

            Re: So much money wasted @ Destroy All Monsters

            Those ideas worked, huh?

            Do you mean ideas like, oh, Operation Ajax, the overthrow of a democratic governent of Iran and installation of the corrupt and inept Shah? That idea?

            *That* laid the seeds for the ongoing debacle of dealing with Iran. They're a bit testy over the tens of thousands dead, courtesy of the US installed Shah. All to take care of Eisenhower's war buddies in UK oil interests.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So much money wasted @ Crazy Operations Guy

        " The rules of engagement did not allow the military to shoot unless they were being shot at and even when they were sometimes."

        I'm reminded of this, when recalling the ROE...

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: So much money wasted

      If you'll go back in history not to far, one of Bin Laden's stated main goals was to hurt us financially as that would have more impact than any attack ever could. The attacks did briefly in the stock market but it's the continued expense of agencies such as DHS that are really sucking the cash as well as all the interruptions caused by terrorist scares. In some ways, the US Government is our own worst enemy...

      I'll leave it the others who have already commented on the rest of your post.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So much money wasted

      "Especially since the easier way of destroying these 'terror groups' would have been so much cheaper"

      If you want to do the job properly and get rid of the poison at source, level Saudi Arabia and consider doing the same to Pakistan - at the very least ISI HQ and anything to do with the government or military. To show good faith, as someone suggests above, cut all funding and diplomatic support to Israel too.

      The Saudi's get away with almost zero criticism, because we're addicted to their product, but since at least the early 80's they are the main driver of most of the nutjobbery we see today where Islam's involved through funding and ideological support. When governments say "foreign funded Imams", they invariably mean Saudi funded; almost every mosque that has been fingered in the UK as a source for extremism has Saudi money sloshing around its books somewhere for both construction and ongoing funding. The most depressing thing for about the Saudis perhaps, is that it really does seem to be motivated by the desire to push an especially vile version of religion on everyone else at any cost.

      The Pakistani 'terrorist' groups fighting India on the borders in Kashmir and behind attacks in Mumbai etc are all funded with money channelled from the Saudis through Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence, who seem to operate as a law entirely unto themselves - certainly beyond the absolute control of politicians and to a large extent the army. The biggest possible error after 2001 was to treat Pakistan as useful allies who could be controlled and not to deliver on the threat to send them back to the stone age.

      Until those two are put back quite firmly in their box, one way or another, this crap will just go on and on, however many Afghans take up farming.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So much money wasted

      "It worked out to be that for every person that died on 9/11 the US has spent over $10 million dollars (and rising) in revenge"

      Cost of Iraq & Afghan wars, to date is around $2 trillion, with future veterans' benefits and wind-down costs projected to add another $2 trillion, according to Harvard researchers. Fatalities on 9/11, c 3,000. Therefore, cost of revenge per fatality, $1.3bn. Revenge may be bittersweet, but it is also very expensive, and to judge by results not very effective.

      Those costs don't include the costs of DHS security pantomime, which in its most extended forms probably add another half a trillion dollars over the past thirteen years.

    5. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Did not realize that the Islamic State had a US branch...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If the DHS can't run checks on their own staff then you start to wonder what they can do.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Bureaucratic bacon to cover other bureaucratic bacon with efficiency cheese.

      That question has been posed about 12 years ago and is still waiting for an answer.

      A freedom medal awaits the genius who finds one.

    2. chris lively

      The answer is that they don't do much themselves except "manage". DHS subcontracts a lot more than what most people think. Although you would have *thought* that using the FBI to conduct background checks would have been a core part of their operations.

    3. Obitim

      They do a decent Christmas sale

  7. Captain DaFt

    Oh dear!

    Adds a whole new slant to the famous quote as the DHS and FBI scramble to find out "Who watches the watchmen?"

  8. Tom 13

    "It is extremely concerning that the largest private provider of background investigations to the government was hacked,” Representative Elijah E. Cummings (Md.), the rankingest Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee...

    Yes, but at least we know about it. If it had been a federal government agency which had been compromised, the public still wouldn't know. Hard drives would crash and we'd all be told there was nothing to see there.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quote :

    "The private sector firm runs checks on DHS employees and applicants who require security clearances, including former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden."


  10. Wzrd1

    Years ago

    The FBI conducted background investigations. Even for the military.

    Later, OPM took over, under Bush the Lesser. Debacle city, as they were understaffed and the war ramp up required people with clearances.

    Now, we contract that out (previously prohibited by law) and the contractor apparently dislikes encryption of data at rest.

    Note the prohibited by law part, yet those who changed that law are "now asking pointed questions".

    Just more panem et circenses.

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