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Hackers steal data of 30,000 Army personnel and visitors

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Hackers have busted into a database and stolen personal data from 30,000 personnel and visitors at the former Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, military base. 

The hack mostly targeted CECOM (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance), the tech support backbone for the Army's field communications and command systems. 

The digital thieves pilfered "a mix full names, dates and places of birth, Social Security numbers, home addresses, and salaries," a CECOM representative told the Asbury Park Press. She emphasized, however, that at a minimum, names and social security numbers were stolen.

CECOM claims it has no idea who the hackers are and hasn't explained how the hack was perpetrated. Twitter—usually the first destination for hackers to brag about their conquests—has been largely silent, with no groups claiming responsibility

CECOM's commanding general, Maj. Gen. Robert S. Ferrell, revealed some small details, however, in a mass Dec. 18 letter sent to those affected by the attack. According to Ferrell, the hackers broke into the base's visitor logs as well as CECOM's software engineering center's personnel files. Army personnel shut down those databases as soon as the breach was discovered, on Dec. 6, but the damage had clearly already been done.

The Fort Monmouth base shut down in September 2011, and CECOM—as well as its databases—moved to the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. 

We can only imagine that CECOM's staff, who are responsible for coordinating command and control systems for a branch of the largest and richest military on the planet, have to be little embarrassed about the whole affair. But to their credit, the Army is offering year-long free credit-monitoring services to anyone affected by the hack.

Photo by US Army Europe Images/Flickr