Menu
US fears second major breach exposed more employee data

US fears second major breach exposed more employee data

Forms containing deeply personal information obtained by hackers, reports say

A second major cyber breach that might reveal far more personal and damaging information appears to have hit the U.S. government's Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

The breach was apparently carried out by hackers with connections to China and targeted a database containing copies of the government's Standard Form 86, according to news reports citing unnamed government officials. The form, available online, is a 120-page questionnaire that's answered by people seeking a national security clearance.

Those filling out the form are asked to provide highly personal details about their lives that go far beyond their birth dates and social security or passport numbers. Among the questions asked are details of former residences, names and addresses of neighbors and detailed information about family members.

There are also many questions, confined to the last seven years, that ask about contact with foreign nationals and problems with drug or alcohol abuse, debts or bankruptcy, imprisonment or run-ins with law enforcement.

The hack is believed to be separate from one disclosed last week that targeted the same agency and is feared to have resulted in the theft of personnel records on millions of current and former government employees in all branches of government except the military and intelligence fields.

That hack was initially thought to have affected about 4 million people, but the Associated Press reported on Friday that the actual number could be as high as 14 million.

The U.S. government has yet to officially pin blame for the first hack on any actor, but last week Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine and member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she believed the hackers were based in China.

On Thursday, a union representing government employees said it believes the detailed personal information stolen was not encrypted on OPM servers.

The Office of Personnel Management has yet to provide any details on the hacks beyond an initial statement published last week.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Office of Personnel Management

Events

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

This year’s Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards were held as an integral part of the first entirely virtual Emerging Leaders​ forum, an annual event dedicated to identifying, educating and showcasing the New Zealand technology market’s rising stars. The 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 recognised the outstanding achievements and business excellence of 30 talented individuals​, across both young leaders and those just starting out. In this slideshow, Reseller News honours this year's winners and captures their thoughts about how their ideas of leadership have changed over time.​

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners
Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security

Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security

This exclusive Reseller News Exchange event in Auckland explored the challenges facing the partner community on the cloud security frontier, as well as market trends, customer priorities and how the channel can capitalise on the opportunities available. In association with Arrow, Bitdefender, Exclusive Networks, Fortinet and Palo Alto Networks. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News Exchange Auckland: Beyond the myths — how partners can master cloud security
Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch

Reseller News welcomed 2019 inductees - Leanne Buer, Ross Jenkins and Terry Dunn - to the fourth running of the Reseller News Hall of Fame lunch, held at the French Cafe in Auckland. The inductees discussed the changing face of the IT channel ecosystem in New Zealand and what it means to be a Reseller News Hall of Fame inductee. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News welcomes industry figures at 2020 Hall of Fame lunch
Show Comments