Cyberattack exposes 123,000 TSP accounts

kentoh/shutterstock.com

A sophisticated cyberattack on the computer of a third-party Thrift Savings Plan contractor compromised the personal information of tens of thousands of TSP participants.

The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board and Serco Inc., a contractor that provides services to the TSP, learned in April of a July 2011 attack on a Serco computer. The FBI told Serco and the board that the incident led to “unauthorized access” to accounts of as many as 123,000 TSP participants and other recipients of TSP payments.

The FBI analysis determined that files accessed by the cyberattacker contained the names, addresses and Social Security numbers of more than 43,000 individuals; some of those files also contained financial account and routing numbers. Another group of 79,000 had their Social Security number and other TSP-related information taken.

FBI officials told Government Executive Friday they could not comment on their ongoing investigation into the attack.

According to FRTIB, there is no indication the data has been misused or TSP’s website has been affected by the cyber breach. The compromised computer was immediately shutdown following the incident.

FRTIB, which oversees the TSP, sent letters Friday to all affected individuals offering information on services that can help with credit monitoring. Those participants should receive the letters Saturday or Tuesday, May 29, according to Kim Weaver, the board’s director of external affairs.

Additionally, the board and Serco have formed a response team to conduct a systemwide review of all computer security procedures. FRTIB will receive alerts to their internal records to allow for additional scrutiny of affected accounts, Weaver said.

“We sincerely regret that this event occurred,” Greg Long, executive director of the board, said in a statement Friday. “We are working with Serco and other security experts to ensure that TSP data is protected and secure.”

According to a statement from Serco, Inc. Friday, the complete forensic analysis of the breach required opening and reviewing thousands of files to determine the identity of the individuals affected and the nature of the information at risk.

“This incident fits with the increasing number of cyberattacks in which the goal of those seeking unauthorized access does not appear to include identity theft or financial misappropriation,” Serco officials said. “It is unfortunate reminder that federal government and private company IT assets, computers and data are under pervasive, sophisticated attack.”

This story has been updated.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.