By Frank Munger
December 12, 2007
Following last week's revelations about a computer hacking that
potentially exposed the personal data of thousands of lab visitors, Oak
Ridge National Laboratory is saying little about the event and the
Lab spokesman Billy Stair said he couldn't comment about a report in The
New York Times that the hacking may have had a link to China. The Times
referred to a memo from the Department of Homeland Security that
suggested "phishing" e-mails were sent to ORNL from Web locations with
links to China, although that didn't necessarily mean the Chinese
government or any of its citizens were behind the hacking efforts.
Stair also declined comment on what agencies are involved in the
investigation and wouldn't say if ORNL is collaborating with Los Alamos
National Laboratory, which experienced a similar event in the same time
The "sophisticated" attack tapped into an unclassified database, but it
would seem unlikely that ORNL was targeted for personal info on
visitors. Surely, there would be easier places to infiltrate for
identity theft than a high-security national lab.
The lab has been reluctant to discuss possible motives.
"That's a dangerous area to get into because ultimately we can only
speculate, and speculation can get you into trouble," Stair said. "The
prudent thing to do is to focus on keeping people out and not focus on
why they're trying to get in."
Senior writer Frank Munger may be reached at 342-6329. His e-mail is
munger (at) knews.com. His blog, Atomic City Underground, is available
online at http://blogs.knoxnews.com/knx/munger/
Copyright 2007, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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