The data breach that siphoned off the private information of over 4 million US government employees may actually be far larger, with some estimating that it actually affected 18 million people. CNN has an exclusive report on what is shaping up to be the biggest digital crime against the US government ever.

According to the CNN report, US government officials believe that the attack came from Chinese hackers, who breached a US government database containing information about employees, potential employees, and people seeking government security clearances. It’s this latter group whose data was most recently revealed to be compromised — and it’s a pretty big deal, because each person’s information is linked to information about their family and friends, too.

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The database in question is called Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the more we learn about this hack, the more we’re discovering its wide-ranging effects. Congress is holding hearings this week to find out how OPM could have been left so vulnerable. Also, there is new evidence suggesting that hackers had backdoored the database for months before anyone found out about it.

If you ever applied for a US government job, or if you are part of the social network of somebody who applied for a US government security clearance, you may have been affected by this hack.

[CNN]


Contact the author at annalee@gizmodo.com.
Public PGP key
PGP fingerprint: CA58 326B 1ACB 133B 0D15 5BCE 3FC6 9123 B2AA 1E1A

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