by Daniel Brouse for Membrane Domain Cybersecurity
In 2014 and 2015, there were two major breaches of U.S. government databases holding personnel records and security-clearance files of at least 22.1 million people, including Social Security numbers and some fingerprints, of not only federal employees and contractors but their families and friends.
U.S. officials have privately said the hacks were traced to the Chinese government.
“It is a very big deal from a national security perspective and from a counterintelligence perspective,” FBI Director James B. Comey said. “It’s a treasure trove of information about everybody who has worked for, tried to work for, or works for the United States government.”
The “new number is staggering,” said William R. Dougan, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees. “It is not yet clear how OPM can handle this massive increase, when they were already struggling with the initial 4.2 million. Now, not only do federal employees have to worry about their own personal information being exposed – but they must also worry about their spouse and children having their information compromised.”
“If you have my SF 86, you know every place I’ve lived since I was 18, contact people at those addresses, neighbors at those addresses, all of my family, every place I’ve traveled outside the United States,” Comey said. “Just imagine if you were a foreign intelligence service and you had that data.”