FBI probing Chinese-linked FDIC computer breach: report

FBI probing Chinese-linked FDIC computer breach: report
© Getty

The FBI is investigating a 2010 Chinese military-linked breach of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) official computers, reports Reuters. 

According to a recent House Science Committee report, the FDIC discovered that the same targeted attack had breached various high-level employees' computers — including the FDIC chairman's computer — in 2010, 2011 and 2013. 

The Chinese breach is one of a string of cybersecurity problems at the agency, including seven incidents that the FDIC has deemed major since 2015. The House Science Committee report said the 2010 breach was emblematic of another problem at the agency: intentional evasion of congressional oversight. 

ADVERTISEMENT

In 2013, according to the report, former Chief Information Officer Russ Pittman instructed subordinates not to discuss the breach publicly for fear that it might affect the confirmation of current FDIC head Martin Gruenberg. Pittman was allegedly already aware that the attacks had come from a foreign government, “likely the Chinese.”

In a letter last month to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, the inspector general of the FDIC disputed the report’s findings, and stated that Pittman and Gruenberg took no actions to “obscure or influence the remediation of” the attack. 
 
The House Science Committee is still irked by a perceived lack of transparency from the FDIC. In October, Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) co-wrote a letter to ask why, after promising to report all major incidents to the committee, it took two months to report an Aug. 9 breach and why the report appeared to underplay the breach's severity. 

“Given the ever-increasing number of breaches that offered at the FDIC [that] have not been formally reported to the Committee, the Committee is concerned that the FDIC is taking advantage of the Committee’s goodwill,” the letter reads.