Cyberattack exposes 123,000 TSP accounts


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.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

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

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


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