The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has revealed that hackers stole personal information on 25.7 million Americans. That information included Social Security numbers, financial histories, mental health records, and in over a million cases, fingerprints.
OPM says two “separate but related” hacks of their computer systems took place over the past year, resulting in data on 25.7 million Americans being stolen. That figure includes personal data on 4.2 million government workers, which OPM announced last month. Of the remaining 21.5 million announced on Thursday, 19.7 million had applied for government security clearances. The remaining 1.8 million were primarily family members of those applicants whose private information was included in the detailed security clearance application forms.
Anyone who has had a background investigation performed since 2000 has likely had their personal data stolen. That data goes well beyond Social Security numbers. OPM notes the security clearance applications include “some information regarding mental health” as well as detailed work and financial histories. Stolen data even included fingerprints in 1.1 million cases.
In its press release Thursday, OPM did not state who is responsible for the hack, and during a conference call, officials refused to identify a specific culprit, saying the investigation was ongoing. Reports last month suggested US officials believed China was behind it. OPM noted that, so far, there is no evidence the stolen data has been misused or disseminated.
In response to the hack, OPM will be working with a private company to provide 3 years of credit and identity monitoring to affected individuals. A call center is also being set up to to field questions about the incident.
OPM Director Katherine Archuleta was asked twice during a conference call Thursday if she or other OPM officials would be stepping down as a result of the data breach. She replied both times that she had no intention of resigning.