Government agency data breach exposes sensitive information of millions of people

Through a security report, the US Agency for Global Media (USAGM) revealed that it was the victim of a data breach that would have exposed the confidential information of former and current employees, in addition to the data of some beneficiaries. USAGM is a government agency responsible for disseminating information in line with the principles of support for freedom and democracy that operates in collaboration with media in multiple countries.

The report was shared with some members of the cybersecurity community by a former White House employee and notes that a USAGM member was the victim of a phishing attack, which eventually led to mass leakage. The attack allowed threat actors to access an agency’s email account that stored personal information from USAGM, Voice of America, and Office of Cuba Broadcasting employees who worked at these organizations between 2013 and 2020.

The leak includes multiple sensitive data, such as full names, social security numbers, among other details.

The agency mentions that the compromised account was secured shortly after the incident was detected, and that its employees were given an intensive course on phishing and ways to deal with these attacks. USAGM also implemented a multi-factor authentication mechanism for its Office 365 and SharePoint accounts.

Although the agency offered its employees and affiliates a year of free monitoring services, some members of the cybersecurity community believe it is too late to implement this protection mechanism, as the agency’s notification came almost four months after the approximate date of the leak.

This lapse between attack and notification is more than enough for threat actors to access compromised information. Affected users are advised to stay on top of any possible online scam attempts, which could occur in the form of suspicious emails or SMS messages.

To learn more about information security risks, malware variants, vulnerabilities and information technologies, feel free to access the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) websites.