More than 21.5 million federal employees applying for security clearance at the US Office of Personnel Management were affected by the data hack which compromised sensitive personal information. Data hack began in March 2014 and remained undetected until over a year later. As of yet, the perpetrators of the attack remain unidentified, however, China is quoted as being main suspect.
The OPM data breach is dubbed as one of the largest in the history of the United States mainly because of its scale and the character of the compromised information.
Sensitive Data Compromised
The compromised information involves Social Security numbers; employment, medical and financial history; criminal records; residency and educational history. It has also been revealed that 1.1 million records included fingerprints, and as many as 1.8 million of the 21.5 million records stolen belonged to those related to applicants, i.e. family members and acquaintances.
The information from the stolen files also includes detailed reports of affected individuals' lives, romantic relationships, history of drug abuse, mental illnesses, and emotional disorders.
Many US representatives fear the leakage of such sensitive personal information might have a considerable impact on the security of the United States.
OPM promised to provide identity-theft protection services and credit-monitoring to those affected by the security breach. However, it is essential that every individual who might have been listed on the background check form to the OPM reports to the government agency to be eligible for the three year free of charge identity-theft protection service.
The Breach Might Have Been Avoided
From 2009 there have been reports claiming that security measures implemented in the OPM systems were inefficient and vulnerable to breaches. As Jason Chaffetz said at the OPM Data Breach hearing on June 16, "The continuing weakness in OPM information security program results directly from inadequate governance. Most if not all of the [information security] exceptions we noted this year result from a lack of leadership, policy, and guidance."
The 2015 OPM data breach clearly shows how important security infrastructure is in protecting sensitive information at organizations and companies relying on information technology. To ensure that your business is safe from attacks of hackers and the data of both your employees and clients protected, contact one of our security specialists for advice on security at your company.