Customer and payment data are the typical targets for data breaches, but this time employee information has come under attack. The United States Postal Service (USPS) just reported a cyber security attack on some of its information systems, which has left up to 800,000 employees vulnerable.
The USPS first learned of the potential breach in September, but reportedly waited to announce the situation publicly, because “communicating the breach immediately would have put remediation plans in jeopardy.”
Chinese government hackers are the suspected culprits of the breach, according to The Washington Post.
The names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, addresses, employment dates and emergency contact information of the USPS employees may have been compromised. USPS currently is cooperating in an ongoing investigation being led by the FBI and other federal and postal investigatory agencies.
The intrusion is limited in scope and all Postal Service operations are functioning normally, USPS reported in a company press release. POS systems in post offices and payment systems on USPS.com were not affected by the breach. There also was no evidence that credit card information from retail or online purchases was compromised.
However, the names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses and other information of customers who contacted the Postal Service Customer Care Center via phone or email between Jan. 1, 2014, and Aug. 16, 2014, may have been impacted.
“The privacy and security of data entrusted to us is of the utmost importance,” USPS representatives said in a release. “We have recently implemented additional security measures designed to improve the security of our information systems, including certain actions this past weekend that caused certain systems to be offline. We know this caused inconvenience to some of our customers and partners, and we apologize for any disruption.”
Following this data compromise, USPS announced that it will provide employees with free credit monitoring services for one year, as well as personalized assistance from the Human Resources Shared Services Center.