OPM data breach includes three decades of security clearances, background check information

up to 4 million current and former government employees may have had their records compromised. The information that may have been accessed included social security numbers, birth dates and some bank information. However, other U.S. officials said that the hackers may have gotten access to information about federal employees’ security clearances and background checks dating back to 1985. Since the original report, government officials have said that the breach may have affected more people than previously suspected. Two officials estimate that between 9 million and 14 million current and former government employees from the 1980s to present day may have had their records compromised. “We believe that the Central Personnel Data File was the targeted database, and that the hackers are now in possession of all personnel data for every federal employee, every federal retiree, and up to 1 million former federal employees,” said J. David Cox, American Federation of Government Employees President. The hack originally took place in December 2014, though OPM did not become aware of it until four months later. When the breach was discovered, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security got involved. “We take all potential threats to public and private sector systems seriously, and will continue to investigate and hold accountable those who pose a threat in cyberspace,” an FBI spokesperson said in a statement on June 4. Officials are concerned that private citizens may also have had information compromised, as those with security clearances often have to provide information about family members and friends in order to obtain clearances. If those records were breached, civilians may have had their birth dates, home addresses, places of employment and other information hacked. This OPM breach was the second time that office’s computers had been hacked in the past 12 months. In an attempt to tighten up security, the Office of Management and Budget is requiring that, by the year 2016, all government websites should update their site protocols from HTTP to HTTPS, which will allow for greater online security. Currently, about 31 percent of federal websites (.gov) have made the transition, accounting for approximately 1,200 government websites.]]>

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