Chinese hackers now selecting absolutely most boring federal agencies as targets

A map of China is seen through a magnifying glass on a computer screen showing binary digits in Singapore in this January 2, 2014 photo illustration. Picture taken January 2, 2014. REUTERS/Edgar Su.


A map of China is seen through a magnifying glass on a computer screen showing binary digits in Singapore in this January 2, 2014 photo illustration. Picture taken January 2, 2014. REUTERS/Edgar Su.

"After years of cyberattacks on the networks of high-profile government targets like the Pentagon, Chinese hackers appear to have turned their attention to far more obscure federal agencies," reports the New York Times—real snoozers like the Government Printing Office and the Government Accountability Office, which senior officials said this week were pwned in March.

The printing office catalogs and publishes information for the White House, Congress and many federal departments and agencies. It also prints passports for the State Department. The accountability office, known as the congressional watchdog, investigates federal spending and the effectiveness of government programs.

The attacks occurred around the same time Chinese hackers breached the networks of the Office of Personnel Management, which houses the personal information of all federal employees and more detailed information on tens of thousands of employees who have applied for top-secret security clearances.

Read more here.

The pattern of attacks suggests they are conducted by state agencies. Perhaps the point here is that they're trying to compromise as many targets within the system as possible, to learn more about common vulnerabilities--rather than targeting these specific agencies. And besides, you never know what's behind a door until you open it.