"Einstein" Fooled By "Chinese" Hackers In Massive Government Data Breach

Tyler Durden's picture

On Friday, Beijing responded to allegations from Washington that China was responsible for a cyberattack on the US Office of Personnel Management that compromised the personal data of some 4 million government employees. 

The accusations, China’s foreign ministry said, are “irresponsible” and “groundless.” 

The OPM breach is the latest in a string of cyber ‘incidents’ that have coincidentally occurred in the wake of the Pentagon’s new cyber strategy. Here’s a recap:

Since the announcement by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, the following cyber ‘events have occurred’: Penn State reports hackers have been stealing data from the university’s DoD-affiliated engineering department for years (blamed on Chinese hacker spies), the IRS says at least 10,000 tax returns have been compromised (blamed on “Russian organized crime syndicates”), and, on Thursday evening, Washington reportswhat may end up being the largest data breach in history (blamed on China). As noted last month, these events represent a remarkable step up the cyber attack accusation ladder compared to Washington’s attempt to blame North Korea for cyber-sabotaging James Franco and Seth Rogen last year.

Whether or not the most recent virtual attack on the US did indeed emanate from China or one of Washington’s other so-called “cyberadversaries” (the list includes Iran, Russia, and North Korea) will likely never be known the public, but rest assured the blame will be placed with a state actor so as to ensure the DoD has some precedent to refer to when, for whatever reason, the Pentagon decides it’s time to deploy an “offensive” cyberattack later on down the road.

Irrespective of where the attack originated, it appears obsolete technology was ultimately to blame, because as Bloomberg reports, “Einstein” wasn’t much help in preventing the intrusion. 

Via Bloomberg:

The hackers who stole personal data on 4 million government employees from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management sneaked past a sophisticated counter-hacking system called Einstein 3, a highly-touted, multimillion-dollar and mostly secret technology that’s been years in the making.


It’s behind schedule, the result of inter-agency fights over privacy, control and other matters, and only about half of the government was protected when the hackers raided OPM’s databases last December.


It’s also, by the government’s own admission, already obsolete..


Over the last several months, U.S. officials have said that perimeter-based defenses such as Einstein, even backed by the National Security Agency’s own corps of hackers, can never prevent break-ins.


Like banks and technology companies, government agencies must move to a model that assumes hackers will always get in, specialists said. They’ll need to buy cutting-edge technologies that can detect intruders inside networks and eject them quickly, before the data is gone.

Of course that likely won’t be possible, because after all, no self-respecting bureaucracy processes important initiatives expeditiously and no modern US lawmaking body actually legislates.

Given the slow pace of government acquisition, the inter-agency rivalries and budget fights, though, the initiative may take several years or more to implement, leaving the possibility that the new technology will be old by the time it’s installed.


Congress has yet to act on the personnel agency’s Feb. 2 request for a $32 million budget increase for fiscal 2016, said Senator Angus King, a Maine independent, in an interview.


“Most of the funds,” the agency said, “will be directed towards investments in IT network infrastructure and security.”


The latest intrusion points to the need for Congress to pass a cybersecurity bill, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said. He stopped short of saying whether the measure would have prevented the OPM breach.

That looks a bit like an attempt on the administration’s part to put the blame on an ineffectual Congress, which would seem to be counterproductive at a time when there is clearly a need for less pettiness and more compromise. Some lawmakers were quick to acknowledge this and moved swiftly to rise above Presidential finger-pointing by ... pointing fingers back at the President.

“It’s too early to determine at this point what precisely would have prevented this particular cyber-intrusion,” Earnest said Friday at a press briefing. “What is beyond argument is that these three pieces of legislation that the president sent to Congress five months ago would significantly improve the cybersecurity of the United States, not just the federal government’s cybersecurity, but even our ability to protect private computer networks”..


“Where is the leadership?” said Cory Fritz, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican. “The federal government has just been hit by one of the largest thefts of sensitive data in history, and this White House is trying blame anyone but itself. It’s absolutely disgusting.” 

As you can see, everyone appears to be on the same page here as both the Executive and Legislative branches look set to work together on a comprehensive, bipartisan approach to preventing cyber intrusions. 

Fortunately for the millions of federal employees who are now left to wonder whether or not their personal information is safe on government servers, Defense Secretary Ash Carter may ultimately take matters into his own hands by consulting someone who knows a thing or two about using technology to co-opt personal information:
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter spoke to technology leaders in Palo Alto, California, in April, tossing around ideas for recruiting engineers for temporary missions in government and meeting with Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg. 
Have no fear America, Facebook will cyber-protect you from belligerent foreign governments.

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davidalan1's picture

Nice job einstein

ThirteenthFloor's picture

The hackers are Langley....wake up folks. It's all smoke and mirrors, call it an "inside job".

China broke only one elite empire rule...."thou shall not make too much money"

remain calm's picture

So what, we can hack them they can hack us. We can destroy them they can destroy us. This is all petty BS, just a bunch of children that never grew up. The story is always the same, they only thing that changes are the bad actors. 

Dame Ednas Possum's picture

USSR collapse

USSA collapse

When two tribes go to war? Not so much.

Typically their failure is self-inflicted. Large, clumsy government; excessive military spending; stagnated economy; unsustainable welfare state; disaffected population; suppressed freedoms and human rights; nepotism, cronyism and abject corruption.

'History never doesn't repeat, but it does rhyme'. Twain.

disabledvet's picture

When the only thing a Government is good for is spying on its own People (guess what Barak Obama...Domestic Survelillance is still ILLEGAL!) then lo and behold of a foreign government doesn't deside to come along and steal what REALLY matters.

This is all the security clearance stuff folks.

You want the truth?

Well...there it is for the taking.
The paranoid unconstitutional police state now turned on its head.

Whoever has this info now has the goods on the entire Federal Edifice.

Talk about "Instant Karma...

MonetaryApostate's picture

What people don't realize is, there is embedded machine code on those circuit boards, and they manufacture most of that stuff in China...  So, the only question is, what are the elite doing with that data?  I'm sure the elite have a nice fat database 2nd to none, no doubt, and I'd be willing to venture they will use it for blackmail/extortion, because that's who they are CRIMINALS!

espirit's picture

Buck up.

If you're going to be dumb, you've got to be tough.


boogerbently's picture

Peak internet dependence.

silverer's picture

Russia debt to GDP = 16%

USA debt to GDP = 108%

If you are right, now at least you know who goes first.

Clowns on Acid's picture

You left out the part when Banking gets corrupted. Wasn't Glass Steagal supposed to make that more difficult? And who was the mastermind behind its repeal...oh yeh thats right Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, and Sandy Weill. The rest of the players were just playing alomg.   

boogerbently's picture

"Typically their failure is self-inflicted. Large, clumsy government; excessive military spending; stagnated economy; unsustainable welfare state; disaffected population; suppressed freedoms and human rights; nepotism, cronyism and abject corruption."



But which are you talking about ?

silverer's picture

Langley?  Nah.  It's some teenagers in Hoboken, NJ.  Good enough though, to produce the show.

KnuckleDragger-X's picture

When I was a corporate computer engineer, we would get government contracts and we would go through multiple rewrites of the spec's and the input of multiple bureaucraps which nearly guaranteed that either the end product wouldn't work at all or pretty poorly at best. Government programming contract failures were nearly 70% back in the 80's and I'm willing to bet that it's likely gotten worse.....

847328_3527's picture

I think he's named after that coffee shop/bagel chain, right?


"Einstein Bagels"

THE 4th Quadrant's picture

It's like the early days in commercial security. You write the viruses then you sell your Security Software, then you write more viruses, then you charge for the upgrade to prevent the nasty new viruses.

I'm not saying Zuckerberger did it but you have to ask why the fuck is the little facebook joo in the picture now? Do they know he stole the fucking source code to start his little empire? Oh that's right, he's joo so he gets a free pass on that one.

junction's picture

What the feds need is an ace computer analyst.  Unfortunately, Edward Snowden has left the building.

Arnold's picture



The best government money can buy.

My 10 year old niece is pretty sharp operator, and looking for a part time job.

PhoQ's picture

If this is the best government money can buy, maybe they should stop shopping exclusively at Wal-Mart.

Stoploss's picture

It's all Bull Shit...  Another fucking lie from Barry and the retards.

The Chinese no more hacked their system than the daily users of it.


Funny how we can go decades with none of this happening, then when Barry the loser gets in office, all of a sudden Russia is hacking, China is hacking, etc. etc.

The only thing the US posses the ability to hack into is their own citizens entire comunication networks...

TERRORISTS are a LIE created by the US to fund the WAR RACKET and not one fucking thing else...

Chinese hacking is a LIE created by the US to fund the WAR RACKET and not one fucking thing else...

Russian hacking is a LIE created by the US to fund the WAR RACKET and not one fucking thing else...


THis is what you get when you choose not to vote...  So be proud and send your sons to die for a fucking lie to fund the War Racket... 


Feel free to send the bill to George Soros..

HamFistedIdiot's picture

The Deep State is eclipsing the Overt State. If you won't create hackable, government-backdoor-access to your product (software, hardware, Intenet platform, etc.) you are OUT (cf. Blackberry).

It's high time to drain the swamp. 

Handful of Dust's picture

I tend to agree; I doubt these were official hackers from China. From what I see the Chinese still KowTow to Uncle Sam especially the ones in Taiwan and HK. After all, the majority of them want to come here an dbuy a small comfortable $2 million box in Cali, so they can't offend usa too much.


I think it's all bluster and smoke...no substance. And who knows who the real hackers were if it fact it actually happened.

sgt_doom's picture


Einstein (also known as the EINSTEIN Program) is an intrusion detection system that monitors the network gateways of government departments and agencies in the United States for unauthorized traffic. The software was developed by the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT),[1] which is the operational arm of the National Cyber Security Division[2] (NCSD) of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS).


So the IDS system which cost a fortune in taxpayer dollars is essentially worthless, due to the offshoring of jobs, technology and investment to China, so therefore the US taxpayer should fork over more monies for more worthless endeavors?

Once again, it is guillotine time!

disabledvet's picture

Israel launched an offensive cyber attack against Iran...and we know this is true because the Governent arrested the guy who "spilled the beans."

Guess what...they get to attack back and just have.

I'd say "go talk to Jeff Bezos" but once a spy always a spy.

It takes a lot of money to secure the data...running to the head of the Information Liberation Movement's Chief of Operations (Facehugger) is as they say in the military "the wrong answer."

Larry Ellison still is the stand out to me when after 9/11 he said plainly "listen dumb Government clowns who I used to work for...the only thing you need to spend money on is a device that says simply I am who I say I am."


Instead they have gone on a phishing expedition extraordinaire...exposing as it now turns out "the goods" on the entirely of the American people.

Say hello to War with Russia...

espirit's picture

Nothing better than a 'captive' audience.


Ignatius's picture

You wanna see hacking fun, wait till we are taken to a "cashless" system.

Bam_Man's picture

Roger that, but I think the current system crashes and burns long before "they" come close to implementing a cashless one.

BlackChicken's picture

The crash will usher in the panicked demand that Washington do something to help us. Then we will have cashless transactions rammed down our throats.

Problem, reaction, solution; same as it ever was.

Peter Pan's picture

Now why would you want to steal employee records of the USA unless you were trying to figure out who the spies are.

Cautionary Tale's picture
Cautionary Tale (not verified) Peter Pan Jun 6, 2015 12:19 PM

Why bother with an expensive 'hacking' system then? Just look for all the Rothgoldberghoffmanschwartzrosensteins & you'd have your list.

espirit's picture

Cashless Banking- Algo's skimming sub-pennies at the speed of light.

sgt_doom's picture

THAT, plus Ali Baba needs more customers (Identify theft).

VWAndy's picture

If they are talking about a cashless system then you can be sure the system is corrupted to the bone. Basic logic.

Ignatius's picture

You just cut the Gordian Knot.

Renewable Life's picture

Billions wasted as were made into bigger fools by the day...............

PRICELESS (for everyone else but Americans, were quit literally paying for it with our children and grandchildren lives and prosperity)!!!

nmewn's picture

Years and multi-millions of dollars spent for an ObamaCare website that didn't work, now years and multi-millions of dollars spent for "cyber security" that doesn't work.

Situation normal for .gov.

PhoQ's picture

Here at gov.gov, not working is our most important product.

q99x2's picture

Rich fuckers are STUPID.

Seasmoke's picture

China Can't believe how much these 4million public takers steal from taxpayers for doing just about nothing.  They are smart. They will just let it continue. 

Fun Facts's picture

"A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be. Information is not knowledge."

- Einstein

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited."

- Einstein

Peter Pan's picture

Applied knowledge is power.

Monetas's picture
Monetas (not verified) Jun 6, 2015 11:32 AM

Thanks, Red China .... maybe we'll find out how much our "Public Servants" are actually paid, benefited, expensed, privileged and compensated .... in real time .... best kept secrets .... even Snowden is in on this cover up .... if he wanted some creds .... he could be helpful ....but, oh no .... the Reds beat him to it !

Bam_Man's picture

Does EVERYTHING "they" touch turn to sh*t, or is it just my imagination? 

laomei's picture

hey look, things that never happened.  let's blame china without any evidence or investigation because it's awesome for propaganda.  jesus, it's not even fucking close to credible.

Never One Roach's picture

The evidence is clear: several Red China passports were found near the database.

Handful of Dust's picture

" ... pristine condition ...." the rumor has it. Ink still wet.