So You've Been Hacked: What Next?

Friday - 6/1/2012, 4:54pm EDT

Some person, persons, criminal outfit or foreign government (sometimes the same thing) has hacked some of the 4.4 million accounts in the federal Thrift Savings Plan.

Serious stuff. The good guys are on the trail and we wish them well.

Meantime, when you're hacked, you're hacked! No two ways about it. So do you suffer, slobber or suck it up? Here's how some are handling it.


"I am one of the 123,000 whose account was hacked. As a retired fed, I was in the process of withdrawing my money. Account is now zero and closed out. However, when I received the letter, I immediately followed all the steps outlined in the information sent by TSP, enrolled in the free credit watch program and am in the process of changing passwords to financial accounts. I intentionally have few credit cards and will watch each of them carefully. Better safe than sorry. As far as my TSP account was concerned, the only withdrawals were mine and went exactly where I asked them to go.

"That said, I'm surprised that it took so long to notify although I appreciate the fact that the notification came with the free credit monitoring and instructions on how to proceed. A quick notification without an immediate protection solution would have been much worse, generated far more correspondence, e-mail and telephone calls, etc."

M.H.

"I got a letter last week. I am one of the "lucky" 123,000 individuals whose TSP account was hacked. I have to monitor my credit reports and register for credit monitoring, according to the letter.

Grrrr."

Denis S.

"I have had a TSP account for many years. It represents a critical portion of my upcoming retirement income. I am CSRS so will get a generous pension (which I partially funded) which is indexed to inflation. I also will receive group-rate health insurance, with Uncle paying the lion's share of the premium, for life. Then some if my spouse outlasts me, which she swears she will do.

"Like most people I was shocked to read that the TSP accounts had been hacked. Shocked but not surprised. It is a huge attractive target and no matter what the geeks say about things being 'secure' nothing in the electronic world is totally secure.

"What did surprise me is how many of my colleagues are furious that the FBI, TSP or whomever, didn't notify us immediately. One hopes they had a good reason, maybe one that will lead to the arrest and conviction of whoever did this. I assume the FBI had good reason to delay notifying the TSP, and the TSP then in notifying us. It is possible some FBI personnel, and some TSP staffers, were among the hacked. Either way, we are in this togather. It seems to me the government, which is pretty darn good to its own, is on the case. I enjoyed your Alice-In-Wonderland column on the subject.

"I think that rather than seeing ourselves as permanent victims we as federal government workers should, from time to time, count our blessings. Even when we get hacked."

Max


NEARLY USELESS FACTOID

By Jolie Lee

A tornado can reach wind speeds of 250 mph or more, picking up debris on the way. Once a tornado in Broken Bow, Okla. carried a motel sign 30 miles and dropped it in Arkansas, according to NOAA.


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