US Department of Defense Confirms Defense Information Systems Agency Computer Network Breached
The US Department of Defense (DoD) confirms that its US Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) computer network was breached. DISA is responsible for maintaining secure communications for the US President, the Vice President, other senior officials, and military combat operations. Letters have been sent to victims. The data breach carried on over a period of three months, between May and July 2019. Compromised information includes Social Security numbers and other sensitive information not disclosed in the DoD letter. DISA is responsible for the military cyber security, telecommunications, and communications networks in combat zones.
The DoD letter to victims of the data breach did not detail how the data was used, if it has appeared for sale on the dark web, or who the hackers are. It is unknow how many victims are involved. Free credit monitoring will be offered to victims. They were also advised to add fraud protection to their credit reports.
What is DISA?
DISA is a DoD combat support agency comprised of 1,500 military personnel, 6,000 federal civilian employees, and contractors. The agency is headquartered at Fort Meade, Maryland. DISA provides secure telecommunication service and IT support for US President Donald Trump, Vice President Pence, their staff, the U.S. Secret Service, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other senior members of the armed forces. DISA also helped reform the government security clearance process.
Prior to 1991, DISA was known as Defense Communications Agency or DCA.
Other US Government Hacks
In 2014 and 2015 the U.S. Office of Personnel Management was hacked. The data of 21 million current and former government employees was compromised. The U.S. Federal Depository Library Program website was defaced earlier this year.
How to Protect Your Private Information
Nowadays is seems inevitable that our emails, passwords, or payment cards will be involved is some type of data breach. Although there are no guarantees, there are some east steps people can take to protect their passwords and money from hackers.
- Update your Computer’s Operating System – Update your computer and all devices with security patches as soon as they are released. They are usually free of charge and can protect your devices against vulnerabilities.
- Use Biometric Login – Protect your phone and computers with fingerprint scans and facial recognition. Phones carry a lot of sensitive information and private photos. If your phone does not have biometric login protection, upgrade to a phone that does to protect it and the apps installed on it.
- Keep Your Phone or Tablet Apps Updated – Update the apps on your mobile devices. Often developers send updates to add new features, but new versions may also increase security or fix bugs.
- Use a Password Vault – Use a password app to create strong and unique passowrds for EVERY online account. It’s hard to remeber a new password for each login so get a password app that can do it for you.
- Avoid Public WiFi – Do not use public WiFi like that found in coffee shops. Hackers can steal quite a but of information including emails, passwords, and payment information.
- Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) – Use a quality VPN to encrypt and protect all of your information, credit cards, and conversations. This is especially important when you are using any shared WiFi connection.
- Use an Antivirus App – Use an Antivirus App to Protect Your Laptop, Tablet, and Phone. Install a quality antivirus app BEFORE you need it. Paid subscriptions have the latest updates on recent malware. They are inexpensive and help you recover your device in case of an issue
- Limit Exposure – Limit who you give your private information to. Don’t give personal information like your Social Security number or a drivers license to anyone who does not need it. For example, if you have to give your identification to someone to rent a boat at a resort, that person has access to a lot of information about you.
- Shop on trustworthy Websites – Don’t create accounts or input credit card numbers on sketchy websites. When in doubt, use PayPal or a mobile wallet to safeguard your money.