‘No conclusions about the attribution of this particular attack have been reached at this point,’ says White House spokesman
WASHINGTON – The White House said on Friday that it cannot yet confirm that China or hackers based inside China are responsible a cyberattack against a U.S. government agency.
“No conclusions about the attribution of this particular attack have been reached at this point,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. “I can’t get into any conclusions that have been reached about who or what country may be responsible for this particular incident.”
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) said Thursday that the personal information of 4 million current and former employees may have been compromised.
The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. officials believe Chinese hackers are behind the breach.
But the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei did not confirm or deny China’s involvement in the attack, saying, “China itself is also a victim of cyberattacks.”
The security breach occurred in December but the agency detected it in April, and “It wasn’t until May that they were able to determine that some data may have been compromised and potentially infiltrated,” according to Earnest.
A statement released by OPM on Thursday said the agency has teamed with the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI “to determine the full impact to federal personnel”, noting that more personal data “exposures may come to light” during the investigation.
Cyber attacks has increased between the U.S. and China in recent years. Last year the U.S. charged five Chinese military officers in relation to stealing trade secrets from the computers of several large American nuclear companies.
China lashed out at the indictments, calling them “ungrounded.”