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Personal records hacked

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Updated: 6/13/2013 6:23 pm
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- They're back from war, but local military veterans are still facing a danger from overseas: identity theft.

There's growing concern hackers have infiltrated sensitive information inside the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

A congressional report reviewed by Action News shows eight foreign actors, likely Chinese hackers, have infiltrated the computer network of the VA, which could allow them to get a hold of social security numbers and private data of men and women in uniform.

Former Marine Jessie Duff says she's scared someone's poised to steal her identity.

"Being a veteran, our data is a little more sensitive.  I have health records with them, I have financial data with them," said Duff.

These revelations came during a recent hearing at the U.S. house Veterans Affairs Committee.  A former security technician for the VA acknowledged millions of veterans don't have their personal information properly encrypted by the VA.

That former insider says Chinese military are among the hackers.

"Their long term objective is to establish a presence in the network and do whatever they need to do," Former U.S Department of Veteran Affairs Jerry Davis said.

The VA says it's been beefing up training of 98 percent of its staff to better protect their security on computers. 

And the agency is monitoring the system 24-7.

There have been no reports of widespread ID theft from these hackings, at least not yet.

But members of the VA committee repeatedly accused the agency of leaving local vets vulnerable, by allowing itself to be hacked.

"Aren't you concerned about that?" we asked.

"Sir, I'm concerned anytime veterans data is put at risk," U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs employee Stephen Warren said.
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