Updated 11:18 AM EST, Sat, Nov 27, 2021

USPS Hacked: 800,000 Individuals' Birth Dates, Social Security Numbers, Addresses Compromised

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On Monday, the United States Postal Service (USPS) announced in a press statement that there has been an untoward intrusion into some of its information systems. As a result, employees' personally-identifiable information were put at risk, including names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, addresses, employment duration dates, emergency contact information and "other information."

What just happened?

The USPS calls it a "cyber intrusion incident" -- affecting about 800,000 employees, as reported by Time. But it isn't just about employees, as the outlet said customers who contacted Postal Service Customer Care Center from Jan. 1 to Aug. 16 through email or telephone may have also been compromised.

However, the company stated, "At this time, we do not believe that potentially affected customers need to take any action as a result of this incident." TechCrunch noted that customers' credit card information may not have been exposed.

Who's the culprit?

According to Washington Post, the breach was identified in mid-September. The source mentioned in its report that Chinese government hackers are under suspicion for the deed, although the government itself repeatedly denied such accusations. The outlet said the Asian country has also been associated with similar attacks in the past such as intrusions in the USIS and the Office of Personnel Management.

Chief executive of cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, George Kurtz, said via Reuters, "There's a lot of information there [USPS] and it has great value to nation-states like China or cybercriminals in Russia."

It appears rich information will always be appealing in the eyes of a hacker. Kurtz told the outlet: "The information flow of where letters and packages and correspondence are going and who is talking to whom is very interesting to them."

What happens next?

While the scope of the intrusion is said to be limited, the USPS informed that investigations are underway -- beginning from the time the breach was discovered. The company mentioned that the Federal Bureau of Investigation leads the pack, alongside other federal and postal investigatory agencies.

Christian Post noted that at present, the FBI and Postal Service haven't seen any evidence showing that Chinese hackers have utilized the information.

Word of Advice

FBI spokesperson Joshua Campbell confirmed the investigation, as reported by ABC News. However, the outlet wrote that Campbell declined to comment further on the details surrounding it.

Instead, he dropped a safety tip saying, "Impacted individuals should take steps to monitor and safeguard their personally identifiable information and report any suspected instances of identity theft to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov."

For more information, visit USPS's FAQ statement about the security breach here.

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