Data

MSPB suffers IT failure, says hack is not to blame

Shutterstock image: data center lights and hardware.

The Merit Systems Protection Board suffered a system-wide network failure that could result in the permanent loss of some agency data.

The MSPB has experienced a loss of data on its servers and data stored via virtual desktop interface from VMWare. Data as far back as November 2014 could be missing. Efforts are underway to recover data from backup tapes. However, more recent network information going back to late May could be unrecoverable, according to emails obtained by FCW. The outage affects all 219 MSPB employees.

The outage "was not the result of any external cyber intrusion or hacking," according to an MSBP statement provided to FCW.

The agency website, MSPB.gov, has been down sporadically. People doing business with the agency, which deals with cases of federal employees appealing dismissal, suspension, pension claims and other such matters, have been told that their electronic filing service e-appeal.gov is down.

Because of the disruption, people filing with MSPB will be eligible for extensions, provided they state that the outage was a cause of a missed deadline.

It's not clear when e-appeal will be back online. MSPB said that documents submitted electronically by appellants or counsel in open cases were probably not lost.

Employees have been able to access MSPB systems via the Internet version of VMWare, but not through the desktop client. The outage began on June 30, the same day that MSPB switched all employees to the virtual desktop and deactivated its virtual private network connection.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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