OPM Cybersecurity #Fail, As Told By Twitter

Last week, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that “sensitive information” on 21.5 million personnel was stolen from their systems.

Soon after this “enormous breach” (so said FBI director James Comey) was announced, OPM Director Katherine Archuleta resigned and Beth Cobert stepped up as a temporary replacement.

As the U.S. government begins to deal with this massive cybersecurity breach, many have taken to Twitter to share their feelings, ideas, conspiracy theories, and even some gallows humor.

(Disclaimer: These tweets are short takes of people’s thoughts, often written quickly, sometimes emotionally. They do not reflect the opinions of the author or GovLoop.)

Damian Paletta, national security and intelligence reporter at the Wall Street Journal, struck the right level of alarm.

Security experts, pundits, and armchair technologists are weighing in on what the U.S. government and its employees should do next.

More than a week before, after announcing a smaller but still severe hack, the OPM took some action by shutting down its database and moving its security clearance process to paper.

This move got blowback, both before and after the OPM released the updated number of those affected by the hack.

The back-to-paper idea had been floated before people knew the true scale of the hack, though with a twist.

As OPM officials referred to it as a “cybersecurity incident” or sometimes a “data exfiltration,” people and the media debated what the OPM problem should be called.

Mark Knoller, CBS News White House Correspondent, pointed out the OPM’s phrase of choice and got a lot of responses.

The naming debate had been brewing for a while.

No matter what you call it, the OPM data breach​/​incident​/​hack​/​leak​/​rupture​/​intrusion​/​exfiltration/disaster has emotions running high.

Amidst the unsettling news, folks did get a little stress release from laughter.

Twitter being part of the internet, cat jokes definitely made an appearance.

Lauren Girardin is a marketing and communications consultant, writer, and trainer. Find her on Twitter at @girardinl.


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