Millions more Americans hit by government data hack

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By Larry Banks

Data breaches at the US government personnel management agency in recent hack attacks, with suspicions mainly around China, involve millions more people than previously though, said US officials on Thursday.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) said that sensitive data stolen from its networks, such as Social Security numbers, affects 21.5 million people who have previously undergone background security checks.

Government hack affects more people than previously thought

That’s also in addition to data on 4.2 million current and former federal workers stolen in what the OPM said was a separate but related incident. As many people were affected by both hack events, a total of more than 22 million people were affected, almost 7% of the US population.

The breach was already one of the worst on record due to its scale and the sensitive nature of the material taken. Those people exposed include 19.7 million who applied for clearances, such as current, former and prospective employees and contractors, plus 1.8 million non-applicants such as spouses.

Both parties have demanded that OPM Director Katherine Archuleta resigns. House speakers John Boehner said that Obama “must take a strong stand against incompetence in his administration and instill new leadership at OPM”.

“The technological and security failures at the Office of Personnel Management predate this director’s term, but Director Archuleta’s slow and uneven response has not inspired confidence that she is the right person to manage OPM through this crisis”, said Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner.

Archuleta says that neither she nor OPM chief information officer Donna Seymour would resign. “I am committed to the work that I am doing at OPM”, Archuleta told reporters. “I have trust in the staff that is there”.

SOURCE: Reuters.

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