US Census Bureau says breach didn't expose household data

The breached database was segregated from systems that hold census data

U.S. Census Bureau headquarters

U.S. Census Bureau headquarters

The U.S. Census Bureau said a data breach early last week did not expose survey data it collects on households and businesses.

The leak came from a database belonging to the Federal Audit Clearinghouse, which collects audit reports from government agencies and other organizations spending federal grants, wrote John H. Thompson, the Census Bureau's director, on Friday.

The exposed information included the names of people who submitted information, addresses, phone numbers, user names and other data, he wrote.

A group calling itself Anonymous Operations posted a link on Twitter leading to four files. The cyberattack was allegedly in protest of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, two pending trade agreements that have been widely criticized.

Thompson wrote the attackers gained access through a configuration setting. The database was on an external IT system that is separated from an internal system that stores census data, he wrote.

"Over the last three days, we have seen no indication that there was any access to internal systems," Thompson wrote.

The agency continues to investigate the breach while also scanning for vulnerabilities. The system will remain offline.

The Census Bureau breach comes as the U.S. government has suffered several attacks against its infrastructure in recent months.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has said the personal details of 21.5 million people who underwent background security checks for government jobs were compromised, along with 1.1 million fingerprints. The attackers are suspected to be in China, although the U.S. government has held off officially blaming the country.

Last year, suspected Russian hackers also breached non-classified email systems at the White House and State Department, underscoring the difficulty the government is having securing its networks.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags securitydata breachU.S. Census Bureau

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?