Tens of Millions Affected|by Data Breach, OPM says

     WASHINGTON – The Office of Personnel Management confirmed a new cybersecurity breach Thursday that exposed 21.4 million Social Security numbers.
     This breach is separate from one OPM announced in April when it learned that hackers had stolen the personnel data of 4.2 million current and former federal government employees, a statement from the office says.
     OPM says “this number has not changed,” and that the breach exposed full names, birth dates, home addresses and Social Security Numbers.
     While investigating the April breach, OPM learned early last month that a separate breach compromised the background-investigation records of current, former and prospective federal employees and contractors.
     “OPM and the interagency incident response team have concluded with high confidence that sensitive information, including the Social Security Numbers (SSNs) of 21.5 million individuals, was stolen from the background investigation databases,” the office said in a statement. “This includes 19.7 million individuals that applied for a background investigation, and 1.8 million non-applicants, primarily spouses or co-habitants of applicants. Some records also include findings from interviews conducted by background investigators and approximately 1.1 million include fingerprints. Usernames and passwords that background investigation applicants used to fill out their background investigation forms were also stolen.”
     OPM has not yet begun issuing notices for this incident, the office said.
     It added that background-investigation records contain some information regarding mental health and financial history that applicants provide, as well as the information of people contacted during the background investigation.
     There is “no evidence,” however, “that health, financial, payroll and retirement records of federal personnel or those who have applied for a Federal job were impacted by this incident (for example, annuity rolls, retirement records, USA JOBS, Employee Express),” OPM emphasized.
     OPM says it is working with the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI to investigate the breaches and prevent similar thefts in the future.
     The office calls it “highly likely” that the breach affected anyone who “underwent a background investigation through OPM in 2000 or afterwards.”
     Such background checks occur through the submission of forms SF-86, SF-85 or SF-85P.
     Both new investigations and reinvestigations count.
     It is “less likely” individuals who underwent a background investigation prior to 2000 will be impacted.

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