Remember when the Office of Personnel Management assured us that “only” 4 million or so Americans were ultimately affected by the massive Chinese hack that exposed more private internal systems than a Miley Cyrus Instagram post?
Yeah, let’s just say that they wildly underestimated their own personnel management file system. Even their recent admission, that it could be in the ballpark of 14 million files now in the hands of a coalition of Chinese hackers came in a little low. According to a recent report given to Congress, by FBI Director James Comey and obtained by CNN, the number is actually closer to 18 million, and includes personnel files established for job applicants and profiles of Federal family members, not just regular employees.
Approximately 18 million Americans reportedly had their personal records compromised when hackers attacked the Office of Personnel Management’s databases last year.
That number is exponentially bigger than the 4.2 million OPM first acknowledged earlier this month, and far more than the “up to 14 million” figure that began circulating after OPM acknowledged a second attack reached the sensitive information of not just current and former federal employees, but also of some people who simply applied to work for the federal government.
According to CNN, the larger number reflects family members of government workers who may have had their information stolen.
In other words, if you’ve ever worked for the Federal government, applied for a job with the Federal government, been related to someone employed by the Federal government, or randomly met someone who works for the Federal government in a bar during a Wednesday DC happy hour, you’re likely to be well-known to our new technological Chinese overlords.
The OPM still insists that this is wrong, but my sense is that they’re approximately as adept with technology as Lois Lerner, whose “wiped hard drive” somehow managed to destroy all of the emails that regularly passed through a server or cloud, or Hillary Clinton, whose two-device aversion was strangely (and conveniently) a roadblock to providing emails depicting an unfolding murderous scenario in the Middle East. OPM’s head will testify later this week to Congress and will no doubt deny that a significant percentage of Americans are now targeted for Chinese double-agency, but in the meantime, watch your email for odd requests, like whether you’d be willing to turn on your government.
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