21.5 million social security numbers affected in federal data breach, says US government

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One of the largest hacks in US government history may have been more extensive than we originally imagined.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the hackers – which US officials believe were working for China- were able to access 19.7 million background investigation forms from the Office of Personnel Management, each of which includes a multitide of personal data. The number is  much larger than the previous estimates of ‘only’ 4.2 million files.

It’s worse than you might think too, as these documents contain information about spouses and children, including their social security numbers. The Associated Press reports as many as 21.5 million social security numbers may have been compromised.

The hackers broke into the OPM’s network back in 2014, but the breach wasn’t discovered until April. The WSJ says these background forms are often held in unencrypted form on the OPM’s computer networks.

OPM Hackers Said to Have Access to 19.7 Million Background Clearance Forms [WSJ]

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