Energy Department hacked, says no classified data was compromised

Mon Feb 4, 2013 4:52pm EST
 

By Timothy Gardner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Department of Energy's electronics network was attacked by hackers in mid-January but no classified data was compromised, the agency said in a letter to employees.

The attack "resulted in the unauthorized disclosure of employee and contractor Personally Identifiable Information," the Energy Department said in the letter, which was received by employees at its headquarters in Washington late on Friday and obtained by Reuters on Monday.

The department said it was working with federal law enforcement to gather more information on the nature and scope of the attacks and assess the potential impact on staff and contractors. "Based on the findings of this investigation, no classified data was compromised," the letter said.

Government agencies are required to disclose details when confidential personal data has been hacked. But there are no laws requiring them to disclose information when classified data is raided by hackers.

It was not clear which divisions at the agency's headquarters were breached in the attack, and it was also uncertain who the hackers were or where they were based.

A department spokesman declined to comment, and a spokesman for the Energy Information Administration, which publishes data that helps keep oil, gas and electricity markets stable, deferred to DOE headquarters.

Government agencies and contractors handling classified information are supposed to use special safeguards to protect classified information from disclosure.

The most highly classified information, such as intelligence information, is supposed to be stored on systems that are completely isolated from the Internet.   Continued...