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What response does the OPM hack require?

June 13, 2015

OK, let’s just come right out and say it. The U.S. government can’t find it’s ass with both hands when it comes to cyber security. Worse, it doesn’t seem to see or be able to call the hack what it is. This was an act of naked aggression sponsored by a foreign government.

It’s one thing when some retailer gets hacked.  It’s easy for some liberal pundit to say those big business moguls are just too cheap to pay for good security, or that they don’t care about their customers enough to safeguard their systems.

It’s quite another when the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for the U.S. government, and who knows what other agencies (there seems to be a new one disclosed every few days) get caught with their cyber-pants down.

And this is the government that’s going to safeguard all of our phone and internet data in the communications they’ve been gathering?

This has implications far beyond just the loss of sensitive  information about government employees and CIA spooks.

What about all the cloud storage used by businesses, SaaS products and a myriad of other things floating around out there in the ether? Or the power grid, train schedules, airplanes and even your family car?

That stuff is a lot easier to hack than the Pentagon or the OPM.

Almost every job application, loan application, and even applications for grant money in both the public and private sector is now stored on somebody’s server somewhere.  Job applications online still ask for your Social Security number, and may refuse to process the application if you don’t provide it. Almost every lender let’s you set up online payments. Brokerage accounts are often accessible online.  Oh yes, and let’s not forget

In short everything is online now, and most of it requires that you input sensitive personal information.

Already a few people are asking if they should just close all their bank accounts, open new ones and use paper checks to pay for everything again.

Experts have been warning about this for years, going back a lot further than the website. Remember the warnings about cyber attacks on the power grid?

TV producers have been writing whole series around cyber-snooping, black hat hackers, and how easy it is for a trained operative to access just about anything. It’s becoming apparent that art is imitating life, big time. Or maybe it’s vice versa, who  knows?

Aside from the military implications, if the public gets rattled enough about this to start unplugging, the Great Recession will look like a two second power surge.

We used to know how to handle this sort of thing.

When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor the entire U.S. economy and every government agency went into full war footing. Factories converted to making war materials in a matter of a very few months.

They didn’t get to argue about it, or what the pay scale was going to be, or how many hours before you get overtime. President Roosevelt ordered it, and it happened. We understood bombs and the government reacted accordingly.

That’s what we need now, not platitudes or silly politicians whining about building low income housing in Foggy Bottom or Beverly Hills.

It’s not the Republicans or the taxpayers fault that the government can’t seem to understand that income equality and all the other social engineering BS is going to have to be put on hold to address this threat. Instead, they are fighting about trade authority  and who gets to control it.

Newsflash…who gives a damn?

Whether the Obama administration wants to admit it or not, the OPM hack was an act of war.

The bad guys can kill just as many or more soldiers in one day with the data they got as Emperor Hirohito did on December 7, 1941. The OPM hack is the 21st century equivalent of Pearl Harbor, and somebody better start treating it as such. It’s time for the sleeping giant to wake up.

From → op-ed

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