A new report says that hackers are targeting departments like the Government Printing Office in hopes to find less protected secrets.

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US Government offices with the highest profile are likely to have the best protection around their networks, and China’s cyber-spies appear to be aware of that according to a new report by the New York Times.

While US defense networks and intelligence agencies often receive the most intrusion attempts, according to the Times lesser known departments such as the Government Accountability Office and Government Printing Office have also come under attack in recent months. While this might seem like a strange target for hackers seeking state secrets, as the Times explains these offices would have their secrets too.

The printing office catalogs 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.

While these hackers may not have had a specific topic for intelligence gathering in mind, this may have been an information gathering exercise to cast a wide net and gather what they could in order to have a better understanding of how some lesser-known networks work and what they may contain. Some of this information will likely make its way into briefings or reports on particular topics of interest like effectiveness of US Government programs — such as the F-35.

Source: New York Times