The US Postal Service has reportedly used outdated systems for years that left the agency vulnerable to hackers and a potential $1 billion loss

us postal service
A person drops a letter into a USPS mailbox during Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on September 7, 2020 in New York City.
  • The US Postal Service has reportedly used outdated IT systems for years that could have opened up the agency to hackers and a "potential financial impact of over $1 billion," per a Motherboard report.
  • A memo released by the agency in July detailed the discovery, including that of "significant vulnerabilities that increase the risk of disclosure of sensitive information and potential impact to business operations."
  • A USPS spokesperson told Business Insider in an email that "the vulnerabilities identified in this report were found, scoped and addressed by the Postal Service.  These applications are now addressed."
  • The USPS has been thrust under the microscope recently over its handling of the upcoming 2020 presidential election.
  • The service is expected to be tasked with processing an influx of mail-in ballots in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

 

The US Postal Service has reportedly used outdated IT systems for years that could have made the agency vulnerable to hackers as well as a "potential financial impact of over $1 billion," per a report from Motherboard.

A memo sent on July 27 by the USPS Office of Inspector General outlined how an audit discovered "the Postal Service allowed applications to operate in the production environment with significant vulnerabilities that increase the risk of disclosure of sensitive information and potential impact to business operations."

The USPS Corporate Information Security Office called the flaws in the system "catastrophic." Hackers have not penetrated the agency's systems, but the holes in the apps could have allowed them to access sensitive data.

The audit called for the service to address and fix the vulnerabilities found in the apps it was using. A USPS spokesperson told Business Insider in an email that "the vulnerabilities identified in this report were found, scoped and addressed by the Postal Service.  These applications are now addressed."

The US Postal Service has been thrust into the spotlight recently as the upcoming 2020 presidential election approaches, an election that the service will likely play a large role in. The agency is expected to be tasked with processing an influx of mail-in ballots given the COVID-19 pandemic.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major donor to the Republic Party, announced operational changes to the agency, which had been struggling long before the pandemic. After much backlash, DeJoy said he would suspend those changes until after the election. President Donald Trump has also acknowledged that he intended to withhold funding from USPS to sabotage mail-in voting.

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