Another hack has just exposed the personal details of more than 14 million people. According to intelligence reports, the hack was linked to China. The figure is significantly higher than the one that was revealed by the Obama administration, which said that a total of 4 million were affected.
According to new estimates, approximately 9-14 million people may have been affected by the latest hack. The reveal was made by a congressional official who spoke with the Associated Press. He chose to remain anonymous, since revealing information in confidential briefings may lead to a reveal of classified details.
A large number of the victims were federal employees (approximately 4.2 million people). Contact information was also hacked. Federal officials are under no doubt that the hack is much bigger, and significantly more damaging than was previously anticipated. Social security numbers, personal data and contact information was all stolen.
According to many US officials, hackers from China may have gained access to sensitive background information that was compiled by military personnel. Most of the information that was stolen was heavily guarded and required several security clearances before it could be accessed legally.
The forms that were accessed (Standard Form 86) required people to disclose deeply personal information about themselves. The Office of Personnel Management declined to comment on the situation. Whereas the Obama Administration has released an official figure of 4 million, they didn’t exactly reveal the nature of the content that was stolen.
It was believed that the Central Personnel Data File was the primary target. The file mainly contains records of millions of federal employees. However, records of members of Congress and other staff are not on this file. According to the union, hackers gained access to sensitive information, including birth dates, job status, pay history, health insurance, life insurance and other personal details.
Senator Democrat Harry Reid blamed the Chinese for the hack outright. However, he did not mention whether he was targeting the individuals of China or the government itself. The union does not have access to direct information revealed by the investigation committee. Instead, its assessment is based on doubtful info received by OPM, according to The Washington Post.
The release made by the union, as well as the comments made by a senator in the Senate put into focus the massive cyber hacking ring in China. Sadly, it also highlighted the fact that so far, the Chinese have been immensely successful. These personal details can be used for a variety of different reasons, the most common of which is blackmail.
This is not the first time when United States has blamed China for a sophisticated cyber attack on its servers. In May 2013, Chinese hackers were blamed for gaining access to a sensitive weaponry system, stealing US Secret weapons designs.
In May 2013 again, Chinese hackers were blamed for hacking the official website of U.S. Labor department and installing malware on the department’s servers.
Do you think it’s China behind these hack or it’s an inside job?
[src src=”via” url=”http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/chinese-hack-of-government-network-compromises-security-clearance-files/2015/06/12/9f91f146-1135-11e5-9726-49d6fa26a8c6_story.html”]The Washington Post[/src]