OPM Announces More Than 21 Million Affected By Second Data Breach

OPM Announces More Than 21 Million Affected By Second Data Breach

The White House has confirmed that the Office of Personnel Management has suffered a second cyber attack, likely carried out by the same hackers who infiltrated the OPM’s server and stole 4.2 million federal employees’ data, according to the New York Times.

Officials say the hackers, who have ties to China, have accessed federal security clearance forms containing sensitive information about intelligence and military personnel.

The new figure of 21.5 million is in addition to the personal information of 4.2 million current and federal employees breached from June after the second incident began in May of 2014 and went undiscovered for a year.

Congressman Chaffetz tweeted on Thursday that 19.5 million of them of the 21.5 million affected had applied for security clearance.

A follow-up message said that 1.8 million non-applicants (family members) were also affected. A final message says that 1.1 million biometric files were compromised, but that it wasn’t clear if intelligence workers were part of that set.

According to U.S. Press Secretary Josh Earnest, Obama is considering using an executive order he signed in April which allows for financial sanctions against groups who participate in cyber attacks against the United States.

Officials believe that the attackers accessed a document called “Standard Form 86,” which is filled out by people applying for national security positions, according to the AP. This form asks for a wealth of sensitive information, including drug and alcohol use, mental illness, bankruptcy, arrests, and a list of contacts and relatives.

In the week since the first breach was announced, U.S. officials have disclosed more information about attack, often anonymously. In a letter to the OPM yesterday, the head of the a federal union claimed that all federal employees, including military personnel were impacted by the breach.

Initially, the OPM said it did not believe military and intelligence personnel were impacted in the breach. Now, not only has information been stolen from military and intelligence personnel in this second attack, but also the breach likely extends outside of the federal government.

Officials noted a separate system containing information on health, finances, payroll and retirement records was not compromised in either breach. However, the stolen data does include interviews conducted with family members and roommates, as well as some 1.1 million fingerprints.

OPM is offering at least three years of credit monitoring to individuals affected in the second breach, along with identity theft insurance and victim recovery assistance.

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