Update: Approximately 20 minutes ago, OPM director Kathleen Archuleta finally submitted her resignation. Lower-level employees in charge of tech still remain. Her deputy will take over.
If you weren’t certain, before, whether your personal information had been compromised in the series of Chinese hacks that hit the Office of Personnel Management earlier this year, well, let me set your mind at ease. You probably were.
The first hack by Chinese nationalists affected 4 million people and involved primarily social security numbers, which is scary enough. This one, which OPM owned up to yesterday, involved 21.5 million people, included fingerprints, personal data and residency history, as well as “possibly” more social security numbers. The OPM isn’t sure. But there’s at least one thing for certain – if you’ve ever applied for any kind of clearance, whether it was to visit a relative in jail or to live with your military spouse on base, or even applied for a job with the Federal government – the Chinese are now in possession of your life history.
Of the 21.5 million records that were stolen, 19.7 million belonged to individuals who had undergone background investigation, OPM said. The remaining 1.8 million records belonged to other individuals, mostly applicants’ families.
The records that were compromised include detailed, sensitive information about the individuals, including fingerprint data. OPM says 1.1 million compromised files included fingerprints.
Beyond the fingerprints and Social Security numbers, some of the files in the compromised database included “residency and educational history; employment history; information about immediate family and other personal and business acquaintances; health, criminal and financial history; and other details,” OPM said.
It’s possible some of this information was collected without the families even knowing. Some Federal background checks require that the agency in question pull things like family medical histories and employment records in order to create a comprehensive profile of the applicant. You might be vagely aware that your friend or relative applied for a high-level position, but what you might not know is that they looked into your criminal history, too.
The good news is, no one from OPM is interested in taking responsibility, so basically everything is keeping their jobs so far. They might have hired subcontractors to maintain their cybersecurity who eventually subcontracted that job to the Chinese, thus basically giving Chinese nationals everything they needed to know, but the OPM believes that there’s no reason they should be punished for what is obviously not their fault. OPM director Kathleen Archuleta has “no plans” to step down, and why should she? It’s not like anyone in the Obama Administration is concerned. The only organization to point out that OPM had been compromised was an outside vendor. Had OPM not been warned, data would still be being “exfiltrated,” as OPM managers put it, as we speak. In fact, it still could, since OPM doesn’t seem to be taking aggressive measures.
So, good news, when you’re eventually framed for a major bank heist, at least you’ll know who to thank. Just hope they give you a cut?
P.S. As a few people have pointed out, perhaps the worst blow to the Obama Administration, other than the complete loss of trust in any Federal security system, is that Mitt Romney actually called this during the 2012 election.