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US Personnel Agency Chief Quits Over Data Breach

US Personnel Agency Chief Quits Over Data Breach

US Office of Personnel Management chief Katherine Archuleta resigned on Friday. This comes just one day after the government said massive computer hacks at the agency had placed the personal data of over 21 million people at risk.

According to the White House, facing serious grilling by the Republicans in Congress, Ms Archuleta had resigned and the Office of Personnel Management was working on upgrading cyber security measures, like putting limitations on the number of ‘’privileged users’’ of computer data.

In a statement, Archuleta pointed out, ‘’I conveyed to the president that I believe it is best for me to step down and allow a new leader to take over.’’

The latest data breach at OPM adds to the list of one that affects data of an estimated 4.2 million current and former federal workers that was stolen in what the government agency described as a ‘’separate but related’’ hacking incident.

Since a large number of the same people were affected by both incidents, the total comes to about 22.1 million people. That implies almost 7% of the United States’ population was vulnerable to personal data theft in one of the most dangerous cyber security breaches to ever been experienced.

Beth Cobert who currently works in the White House budget office has been identified to take over the role of acting director of the personnel office. The White House said that Archuleta’s resignation becomes effective at the end of day on Friday.

Although the departure of the agency chief was not expected to be the solution to the OPM’s technological challenges, the congressional overseers hinted that it was a step towards that direction.

During the massive computer data breach, social security numbers and other sensitive information was stolen from the databases of the personnel agency.

In recent statements, the US has revealed that China is among the leading suspects in the hacking of its government agency’s data. However, those allegations have been dismissed by China’s Foreign Ministry terming them ‘’absurd logic.’’

The data breach at the Office of Personnel Management and computer glitches experienced this week that led to the disruption of activities at both the New York Stock Exchange and United Airlines have raised lots of questions in Congress.

Archuleta was appointed by President Obama to the position in May 2013, becoming the first Latina to act in the capacity of OPM chief.

Ref: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/10/us-cybersecurity-usa-opm-idUSKCN0PK1Z520150710

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