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Some Commerce Department Employees Blocked From Internet for 10 Days Due to Virus


“Something has to be really bad in order for the response to be, ‘Let’s disconnect from the Internet’”


According to the Washington Post, the U.S. Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration is battling a computer virus that has had employees offline for the last 10 days.

As of right now the EDA's website is not functional. The Post reports that outside experts are currently working to restore functionality, but it is still unclear if any private information was stolen.

The Post continues:

“At this point, what is likely happening is they’re trying to find out who is attacking us, how can we get back online and how do we make sure we get all of the bad guys out of the system,” said Alan Paller, research director of the SANS Institute, a cyber-training school in Bethesda.

The Commerce Department also suffered a wave of security breaches that compromised the names and Social Security numbers of some employees in late 2009 and early 2010. The department was faulted for not informing some employees until almost seven weeks after one breach.


“Something has to be really bad in order for the response to be, ‘Let’s disconnect from the Internet,’ ” said Jacob Olcott, a former counsel for the Senate Commerce committee who now works for Good Harbor Consulting, a cyber risk management company.

The Post makes note of a report in Nov. 2011 that accused China of cyber attacks on U.S. chemical and military companies. It reports security experts as saying business secrets could have been the onus for the attack on the EDA.

[H/T IEEE Spectrum]

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