- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The federal government’s biggest contractor for conducting background checks disclosed Wednesday that it’s been hit by a cyberattack with all the markings of of a “state-sponsored attack.”

The company, USIS, said the attack was recently discovered by the company’s IT department and that officials immediately notified federal law enforcement and the Office of Personnel Management, which oversees most federal background checks.

“Our systems and people identified this attack, and, in response, we are working alongside OPM, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and federal law enforcement authorities in redoubling our cyber security efforts,” the company said in a statement. “We are working collaboratively with OPM and DHS to resolve this matter quickly and look forward to resuming service on all our contracts with them as soon as possible.”

The attack marks another round of unwelcome news for a firm that’s been the subject of increasing scrutiny on Capitol Hill and a civil lawsuit by the Justice Department earlier this year.

The firm, which vetted Edward Snowden and the Navy Yard shooter, stands accused of falsely claiming it finished hundreds of thousands of background investigations that remained incomplete, according to a pending Justice Department complaint.

Meanwhile, congressional leaders have been questioning why a DHS agency awarded the company a contract with the Justice Department complaint pending.

USIS officials have said they’re under new management and that the allegations outlined in federal complaint involved a small group of individuals.