US Postal Service suffers breach of employee, customer data

Data breach affects names, Social Security numbers and other information of 800,000 employees, USPS says

A U.S. Postal Service data breach has potentially compromised the personal information of 800,000 employees, as well as some customers who contacted the government service.

The data breach of some USPS information systems, being investigated by the FBI, may include names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, addresses and other information of Postal Service employees, the USPS said in a press release. The intrusion, reportedly discovered in September, also may affect customers who called or emailed the USPS customer care center between January and mid-August, the post office said.

The compromised data for those Postal Service customers could include names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addresses, but USPS does not believe that customers need to take action to protect their financial accounts, the service said. USPS is still investigating how many customers were affected, a spokesman said.

USPS customer credit and debit card accounts were not breached in the attack, the Postal Service said. There's "no evidence" that any customer credit card information from retail or online purchases through Click-N-Ship, the Postal Store and other services was compromised, USPS said.

Chinese hackers are suspected in the attack, according to a story in the Washington Post. USPS spokesman David Partenheimer said the source of the attack remains under investigation.

The post office attributed the breach to a sophisticated attacker, but it's unclear what information attackers were targeting. "We are unaware of any evidence that any of the compromised employee information has been used to engage in any malicious activity or to enable identity theft crimes," Partenheimer said by email.

USPS called the breach "limited in scope." The Postal Service continues to deliver mail and perform its other functions, the service said.

The post office is contacting employees and offering recommendations for precautions they should take, Partenheimer said. The Postal Service will offer one year of free credit monitoring to all employees, he said.

USPS has recently upgraded its IT security systems, it said. Some of its services were down this past weekend during the upgrades.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags David PartenheimerGovernment use of ITsecuritydata breachgovernmentU.S. Postal Service

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?