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Breach at fed contractor likely results in stolen data

| Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014, 9:45 p.m.

WASHINGTON — A major federal contractor that conducts background checks for the Department of Homeland Security has suffered a computer breach that likely resulted in the theft of employees' personal information, officials said on Wednesday.

The company, USIS, said in a statement that the intrusion “has all the markings of a state-sponsored attack.”

The breach, discovered recently, prompted DHS to suspend all work with USIS as the FBI begins an investigation. It's unclear how many employees were affected, but officials said they believe the breach did not affect employees outside DHS. Still, the Office of Personnel Management has also suspended work with the company “out of an abundance of caution,”a senior administration official said.

“Our forensic analysis has concluded that some DHS personnel may have been affected, and DHS has notified its entire workforce” of the breach, department spokesman Peter Boogaard said. “We are committed to ensuring our employees' privacy and are taking steps to protect it.”

The intrusion is not believed to be related to a March incident in which OPM's databases were hacked, said officials, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak for attribution. That intrusion was traced to China and none of the personal data, which was encrypted, were stolen.

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