Hackers working for the Chinese government are suspected of breaking into the US Postal Service’s network and stealing the personal information of over 800,000 workers. The breach expose employees’ names, birth-dates, Social Security numbers, addresses, dates of employment and emergency contact information.
The breach may have also exposed the names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of customers who contacted the Postal Service Customer Care Center by phone or email between January 1, 2014 and August 16, 2014.
The Washington Post reports that Chinese government hackers are believed to have been responsible for the attack. “For the Chinese, this is probably a way of building their inventory on U.S. persons for counterintelligence and recruitment purposes,” Center for Strategic and International Studies senior fellow James A. Lewis told the Post.
“The privacy and security of data entrusted to us is of the utmost importance,” U.S. Postal Service manager of media relations David Partenheimer said in a statement [PDF]. “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.”
The breach serves as a reminder that data is the new currency — and that’s true for both customer and employee data.