OPM Hackers Stole Data on Every Federal Employee

The breach compromised the personal information of millions of government workers.

National Journal
Dustin Volz
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Dustin Volz
June 11, 2015, 12:54 p.m.

The hack­ers who in­filt­rated the Of­fice of Per­son­nel Man­age­ment last year swiped the per­son­al in­form­a­tion of every fed­er­al em­ploy­ee work­ing in gov­ern­ment, a num­ber po­ten­tially far great­er than the 4 mil­lion pre­vi­ously re­por­ted, ac­cord­ing to a labor uni­on of gov­ern­ment work­ers.

In a let­ter sent to OPM dir­ect­or Kath­er­ine Archu­leta and ob­tained by Na­tion­al Journ­al, Amer­ic­an Fed­er­a­tion of Gov­ern­ment Em­ploy­ees Pres­id­ent J. Dav­id Cox wrote that the hack­ers stole So­cial Se­cur­ity num­bers, birth­days, ad­dresses, mil­it­ary re­cords, job and pay his­tor­ies, and vari­ous in­sur­ance in­form­a­tion, in ad­di­tion to age, gender, and race data.

“Based on the sketchy data OPM has provided, we be­lieve that the Cent­ral Per­son­nel Data File was the tar­geted data­base, and that the hack­ers are now in pos­ses­sion of all per­son­nel data for every fed­er­al em­ploy­ee, every fed­er­al re­tir­ee, and up to one mil­lion former fed­er­al em­ploy­ees,” Cox wrote in a let­ter dated Thursday.

(RE­LATED: Point­ing Fin­gers at Mc­Con­nell, Sen­at­ors Stall Cy­ber­se­cur­ity Bill)

“Worst, we be­lieve that So­cial Se­cur­ity num­bers were not en­cryp­ted, a cy­ber­se­cur­ity fail­ure that is ab­so­lutely in­defens­ible and out­rageous,” he ad­ded.

Cox said that the 18 months of cred­it mon­it­or­ing and $1 mil­lion in li­ab­il­ity in­sur­ance that OPM has offered af­fected em­ploy­ees is “en­tirely in­ad­equate, either as com­pens­a­tion or pro­tec­tion from harm.”

Last week, fed­er­al of­fi­cials an­nounced that data for as many as 4 mil­lion former and cur­rent fed­er­al em­ploy­ees had been ex­posed. The breach oc­curred in Decem­ber and was de­tec­ted in April, of­fi­cials said, and many have at­trib­uted the in­tru­sion to China. That hack was already con­sidered one of the largest and most dev­ast­at­ing on re­cord. After the breach was an­nounced, OPM signed a $20 mil­lion con­tract with a private cy­ber­se­cur­ity com­pany to provide iden­tity-fraud pro­tec­tion ser­vices for af­fected em­ploy­ees.

(RE­LATED: Syr­i­an Elec­tron­ic Army Claims Hack of Army Web­site)

Of­fi­cials did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

Earli­er on Thursday, the Sen­ate re­jec­ted a push by Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell to al­low a cy­ber­se­cur­ity meas­ure to be ad­ded as an amend­ment in an on­go­ing de­bate over the Na­tion­al De­fense Au­thor­iz­a­tion Act. Mc­Con­nell had tried to use news of the OPM hack to jam the bi­par­tis­an meas­ure through, but Demo­crats — in­clud­ing some of the bill’s sup­port­ers — ar­gued that such im­port­ant le­gis­la­tion was de­serving of fuller de­bate.

{{third­PartyEmbed type:scribd id:268412148}}

This story has been up­dated.

Brendan Sasso contributed to this article.
What We're Following See More »
Facebook To Cut Down On Govt-Sponsored Info Campaigns
6 minutes ago

Facebook "outlined new measures it is taking to combat what it calls 'information operations' that go well beyond the phenomenon known as fake news" on Thursday. Facebook acknowledged that there are governments using its platform as a tool to launch propaganda information campaigns and "manipulate public opinion in other countries. ... Facebook suspended 30,000 accounts in France ahead of last Sunday’s first-round presidential election."

Puerto Rico Another Sticking Point in Budget Talks
26 minutes ago

President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. it should be included. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."

Democrats Threaten Spending Bill Over Obamacare
4 hours ago

Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.

IN 2014
Pentagon Warned Flynn Not To Accept Foreign Payments
6 hours ago
One-Week Spending Bill On The Table
6 hours ago

Members of Congress are eyeing a one-week spending bill which would keep the government open past the Friday night deadline, giving lawmakers an extra week to iron out a long-term deal to fund the government. Without any action, the government would run out of funding starting at midnight Saturday. “I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon," said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.