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Sunday, June 16, 2013

VA asked to help vets whose info may have been hacked by Chinese

VA asked to help vets whose info may have been hacked by Chinese
By The Associated Press
Published: Saturday, June 15, 2013

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of lawmakers asked the Veterans Affairs Department on Friday to offer credit monitoring to veterans and dependents whose personal information, including birth dates and Social Security numbers, might have been disclosed when its computer systems were hacked.

The lawmakers are responding to testimony at a hearing where witnesses said foreign-sponsored organizations had successfully compromised VA networks. One former VA official said at least eight groups, mostly connected to the Chinese military, had hacked into the system or had tried. A VA official downplayed the threat but acknowledged that he knew of one foreign-sponsored breach.

Lawmakers emphasized that they really don't know what information may have been taken from VA's computer systems. Hackers encrypted the information before they removed it from the system. Rep. Jeff Miller, the Republican chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, said businesses routinely provide credit monitoring when data may be compromised. He said it should be no different for the federal government.
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