Hackers Stole Information Of Every Federal Employee, Union Says

Hackers Stole Information Of Every Federal Employee, Union Says
Computer Hack Global Panorama / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0
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Personnel data of every federal employee has been stolen, the president of the largest federal employee union said. The data included names, Social Security numbers, military service and insurance and pension information.


The union further said that the cyberattack has been much worse than what the Obama administration has acknowledged.

Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic leader who is also briefed on the most secret intelligence information, said that “the Chinese” were responsible for the December cyberattack into the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) data, as per CNBC.

According to CNET, American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) President J. David Cox said in a letter to the US Office of Personnel Management, “We believe that hackers are have every affected person’s Social Security number, military records and veterans’ status information, address, birth date, job and pay history, health insurance, life insurance, and pension information; age, gender, race, union status, and more.”

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Cox also mentioned in the letter that the standard security measure for sensitive information was not followed as the Social Security number for employees did not appear to be encrypted; calling the lax in the security controls “absolutely indefensible and outrageous.”

Some of the most successful cyberattacks against the U.S. government include groups that have hacked the CIA’s public website, taken control of the U.S.’s military Twitter feed, and intercepting the president’s emails. Hackers carry out these attacks either in the name of political agenda or are paid by other countries.

In an Associated Press report, OPM spokeswoman Jackie Koszczuk said that it was incorrect that personnel information of every federal employee was stolen.

Another OPM spokesman said that the numbers released by the government last week have not been changed – that approximately 4 million people were affected, according to the agency, of which 1 million were retirees, 2.1 million active civilian federal workers and 1.1 million separated workers.

Employees who have been affected by the hacking will be eligible for 18 months of credit monitoring, OPM said. The agency also announced that the employees will receive $1 million in liability insurance, which the union claims is insufficient, as reported by NPR.

The government promised to notify every affected employee of the attack and provide services to prevent misuse of their information.

According to ABC News, OPM’s website says that these notifications “will state exactly what information may have been compromised.”

Furthermore, “since the investigation is ongoing, additional PII exposures may come to light,” an OPM official said. “In that case, OPM will conduct additional notifications as necessary.”

However, AFGE accused the OPM to have outsourced the task of answering questions of employees to a contractor, saying it “adds insult to injury.”

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