Sometimes, you can find secrets in the strangest places — and it seems Chinese hackers are well aware of that fact. According to the New York Times, digital attacks from China have recently been focusing on more obscure US agencies.
The newspaper notes that, according to senior American officials, the Government Printing Office and the Government Accountability Office have come under attack in recent months. They may sound like small fry, but they're really not necessarily, as the Times explains:
The printing office catalogues and publishes information for the White House, Congress and many federal departments and agencies. It also prints passports for the State Department. The accountability office, known as the congressional watchdog, investigates federal spending and the effectiveness of government programs.
The attacks took place around the same time as Chinese hackers attempted to get their hands on top-secret federal employee details from the Office of Personnel Management in March.
It appears that the networks of some of the smaller government departments can still catch hackers out — but not for the reason you may expect. The Times explains that "some of those networks were so out of date that the hackers seemed confused about how to navigate them."
So far, it remains unclear whether the hacks were carried out on behalf of the government or not, although the nature of the attacks hints that they could have been. Either way, the intrusion amounts to hackers running around a large network like it were a building, rattling digital door knobs until it finds one that opens. Eventually, it will find one that we wish it hadn't. [NYT]