The major data breach announced Thursday at the agency that handles security clearances and federal workers' records is only the most recent intrusion into a government system—and almost certainly will not be the last. (Tweet This)
Experts say the problem is twofold: Government networks are sprawling, outdated and require bureaucratic cooperation to fix. Meanwhile, federal agencies are facing attacks from sophisticated adversaries who know how to sidestep detection.
The Office of Personnel Management will send as many as four million current and former government workers notices that their personal information might have been compromised. Officials told NBC News the breach could be the biggest cyberattack in the nation's history, potentially affecting every agency of the U.S. government. U.S. officials identified China as the culprit, a charge Chinese officials vehemently denied Friday.
More from NBC News:
Officials: China suspected of U.S. data breach affecting millions
OPM data breach: China hits back at U.S. over federal cyberattack
IRS breach puts spotlight on the Internet's 'Costco of cybercrime'
The disclosure of the attack against OPM, which began months ago, came just one week after the Internal Revenue Service revealed hackers had potentially accessed personal information for more than 100,000 taxpayers.