Background Checks and Cyber-attacks


Even background checks can be impacted by hackers. It was announced last week that two U.S. federal agencies have stopped background checks with a contractor after the contractor announced its networks had been breached in a cyber-attack. Apparently, the attack originated in a country outside the U.S. It’s unclear how much government employee information may have been compromised.

US Investigations Services (USIS) is based in Falls Church, Virginia. The company has hired a computer forensics firm to determine how the breech happened and where it originated.

This was all enough for the government to take action, likely in an abundance of caution. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have temporarily suspended their contracts with USIS. The company says it hopes to soon resume normal business practices.

USIS is a company that takes advantage of the privatization of background checks by some government agencies. The OPM privatized background check functions back in 1996. USIS conducts employee background checks and investigation for the government. It also takes part in other security-related investigations, such as healthcare fraud.

USIS has been in the news the last few months. The contractor performed the background check on Edward Snowden, the man who leaked classified intelligence documents last year. USIS has also been under investigation by the U.S. justice department, accused of taking short cuts during the background check process.

There can be no short cuts in the background check process. Background checks and pre-employment screening remain important parts of the hiring process. A complete and reliable background check can safeguard a business from negligent hiring lawsuits. It also helps promote a safer work environment. Pre-employment screenings also reduces the risk of making the wrong hire, something that can adversely affect employee productivity and earnings. Don’t shortchange the background check process. It’s not worth the risk.