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Did Chinese Hackers Just Steal U.S. Government Employee Data?

The U.S. says a major cyber-attack has been traced back to China. (Image: elhombredenegro/flickr)
The U.S. says a major cyber-attack has been traced back to China. (Image: elhombredenegro/flickr)

Around 4 million current or former federal employees have had their personal data potentially compromised by a huge hack,  says the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which handles human resources for the federal government.

But the hack could be worse than first thought.

According to CNN’s Evan Perez, in the video clip further below, virtually every government agency has been breached by the hackers, and his sources say it’s much, much bigger than what the U.S. government is letting on.

He said it could be much more than the 4 million as announced by OPM, which is also responsible for conducting background checks for security clearances. The OPM conducts more than 90 per cent of federal background investigations, according to its website, says AP.

A U.S. law enforcement source told Reuters that a “foreign entity or government” was thought to be behind the cyber-attack. Reuters added that the authorities were looking into a possible Chinese connection.

According to CNN’s Perez, there were two distinct attacks that were sophisticated enough to remain undetected in the U.S. systems for months. For more, see Perez in the CNN video:

The hackers are understood to be based in Mainland China, said Senator Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, who is also a member of the Senate intelligence committee, reported AP.

Collins said the breach was “yet another indication of a foreign power probing successfully and focusing on what appears to be data that would identify people with security clearances.”

According to cyber security expert Alex George in the below Fox news clip, the hackers are compiling a data base on U.S. government employees.

“Credit fraud is not the goal, but [it’s about] intelligence and seeking out individuals who they could derive information from,” says George.

Whoever gets the information can identify people who they could turn into an intelligence asset, and they could do that through bribery or blackmail.

See the Fox clip here:

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