US Homeland Security contractor reports computer breach

US Homeland Security contractor reports computer breach
U.S. Department of Homeland Security employees work during a guided media tour inside the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center in Arlington, Virginia June 26, 2014

WASHINGTON - A company that performs background checks for the US Department of Homeland Security said on Wednesday it was the victim of a cyber attack, adding in a statement that "it has all the markings of a state-sponsored attack."

The computer breach at Falls Church, Virginia-based US Investigations Services (USIS) probably involved the theft of personal information about DHS employees, according to the Washington Post, which first reported the story.

DHS has suspended all work with the company amid an investigation by the FBI, the Post reported. A US government official confirmed to Reuters that the FBI is investigating the breach.

The Office of Personnel Management has also suspended work with USIS out of an abundance of caution, it said, adding that government officials do not believe the breach has affected non-DHS employees.

"Our forensic analysis has concluded that some DHS personnel may have been affected, and DHS has notified its entire workforce" of the attack, department spokesman Peter Boogaard was quoted by as saying by the newspaper.

"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," USIS said in the statement on its website.

"We will support the authorities in the investigation and any prosecution of those determined to be responsible for this criminal attack," it said. "Experts who have reviewed the facts gathered to-date believe it has all the markings of a state-sponsored attack,"the company said.

USIS says it is the biggest commercial provider of background investigations to the federal government, has over 5,700 employees and provides services in all US states and territories, as well as abroad.

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