It is suspected that Chinese hackers have carried out a “massive breach” of US government data, affecting millions of current and previous employee’s officials have said.
It has been reported by The Office Of Personnel Management (OPM) on Thursday that around four million current and previous employees have been affected by the breach.
The Breach is of serious concern as officials have said that it could potentially affect every federal agency.
It is thought that the hack originated from China, according to Susan Collins, who is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. However, the Chinese Embassy based in Washington were quick to warn against “jumping to conclusions”.
The agency are offering to insure against identity fraud to all those potentially affected. Security clearance information on government officials could have been a target for the hackers which is a real cause for concern. US officials are all too aware of the risk of such hackers due to previous attacks on government agencies and companies, most evidentially being Sony.
OPM serves as the Human Resource Department for the federal Government. The agency compiles records of all employees of the federal government including performance reviews and training.
Furthermore, clearance investigations and background checks were not involved in the breach.
Senator Susan Collins described the breach as “yet another indication of a foreign power probing successfully and focusing on what appears to be data that would identify people with security clearances”.
Chief strategy officer of Xceedium, Ken Ammon, has warned the hacked data could be used as a means to blackmail or impersonate employees due to the access of sensitive information.
Congressman Adam Schiff would like cyber databases to be upgraded as a result of the most recent attack, stating it is “perilously overdue”.