- The Washington Times - Friday, July 24, 2015

Hackers have breached a computer network used by the U.S. Census Bureau and have made off with “non-confidential” information from a government database that has since been published online, the agency admits.

“The U.S. Census Bureau is investigating an IT security incident relating to unauthorized access to non-confidential information on an external system that is not part of the Census Bureau internal network. Access to the external system has been restricted while our IT forensics team investigates,” Census Bureau spokesman Michael Cook said in a statement on Thursday first published by The Register.

“Security and data stewardship are integral to the Census Bureau mission. We will remain vigilant in continuing to take every necessary precaution to protect all information,” Mr. Cook said.

Earlier in the week, individuals affiliated with the hacktivist group Anonymous claimed that they had compromised the Census Bureau and had subsequently published the contents of a breached database, the likes of which included hundreds of usernames and addresses, among other sensitive details.

According to a Twitter account associated with the shadowy internet collective, the U.S. agency was targeted in order to draw attention to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP—two proposed trade agreements in which the U.S. is involved.

News of the latest hack comes on the heels of the high-profile breach suffered earlier this year by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in which the personally identifiable information pertaining to millions of government contracts was compromised.

Meanwhile, authorities in the U.K. last week arrested a British man, Lauri Love, pursuant to extradition papers filed in the U.S. for his arrest. Mr. Love, 30, is suspected of having attacked several U.S. government computer networks, including those of the Department of Energy and U.S. Sentencing Commission, in connection with campaigns waged by Anonymous. He is free on bail pending a hearing in September. 

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