Top government officials falling victim to cyber-attacks in US government highlights the concern for cyber security. Not having the right security parameters in place can make government, a popular target for cyber terrorists, an easy organisation to defeat.
This past week it was announced that John Brennan, Director of Central Intelligence Agency, had his private email account hacked. It was reported that the attacker was a high-school teen who used social engineering tactics to gain entry into Mr. Brennan’s AOL account.
The hack of Mr. Brennan’s private account claimed several work-related files, including his application top-secret security clearance. Within this account, it is presumed that Mr. Brennan had Social Security numbers and other personal information of top intelligence officials.
“We are aware of the reports that have surfaced on social media and have referred the matter to the appropriate authorities,” a CIA spokesman stated.
This comes as a shock to the public sector as the e-mails of former Secretary-of-State Hillary Clinton are still being picked apart in congressional hearings. Mr. Brennan himself was a top homeland security adviser to President Obama before he joined the CIA in 2013. He is known for speaking on the “digital dust” which can trail CIA staff.
Despite Mr. Brennan’s efforts to strengthen the CIA’s digital capabilities, this news reflects the vulnerabilities of the top official to cyber-attacks. The highest officials in government may never presume they are safe from an attack as they are some of the highest targets in the world for cyber terrorism.