Shares of several cyber security specialists outperformed broader indexes Friday after federal officials outlined yet another hack to U.S. government computer networks.
The Department of Homeland Security announced that data from the Office of Personnel Management and the Interior Department had been compromised, and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee said the hacker was believed to be based in China. The FBI is investigating.
The Office of Personnel Management, or OPM, conducts more than 90 percent of federal background investigations, according to its website.
A U.S. official said the breach could potentially affect every federal agency. One key question is whether intelligence agency employee information was stolen.
Cybersecurity experts have said the OPM was targeted a year ago in a cyberattack that also was suspected of originating in China. In that case, authorities reported no personal information was stolen.
Government agencies like the IRS and private businesses like retailers and health insurers have been riddled with hacks or breaches of their computer networks over the past year or so, highlighting the growing importance of security.
Shares of FireEye Inc. jumped 5.9 percent, or $2.92, to $50.87 in Friday afternoon trading, while the Nasdaq exchange fell slightly. Palo Alto Networks Inc. rose nearly 3 percent, or $4.96, to $173.71, and Juniper Networks Inc. climbed 29 cents to $27.44.