5.6 Million Federal Employees’ Fingerprints Stolen By Hackers

Security / Tech

Hackers, or to use the technically correct term, crackers have stolen a whopping 5.6 million fingerprints belonging to employees of the United States Federal Government. Since it’s a little difficult to change your fingerprints, the hackers now have access to identity data that will last a lifetime.

It was earlier estimated that about 1.1 million fingerprints were stolen in the breach. The Office of Personal Management (OPM) now estimates that the number is closer to 5.6 million. During the breach, a massive 21.5 million Social Security Numbers were also stolen. It should be noted that the victims include military employees, who have security clearances.

The hack is thought to have originated in China, which is ironic considering the statement Xi Jinping, the President of China, made in Seattle on Tuesday. Xi Jinping pledged that China would work with the United States of America against cyber crimes, an issue fraught with tension between the two countries.

OPM has announced that it is sending a letter to the victims of this hack. They also released a statement saying “federal experts believe that, as of now, the ability to misuse fingerprint data is limited.” They did, however, admit that future technology could possibly harness the data obtained in the hack and misuse it. This is especially worrying since this data is possibly in the hands of a foreign government’s agents.

The hackers have also supposedly gained access to victims’ SF-86 forms, a questionnaire for national security positions. These forms contain data about drug use and extra-marital affairs, information that could potentially be used to blackmail the victims. Senator Ben Sasse wrote today in an email:

The American people have no reason to believe that they’ve heard the full story and every reason to believe that Washington assumes they are too stupid or preoccupied to care about cyber security.

What do you think? Are you a federal employee that worries your information may have been leaked? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook, Google+, or Twitter.

  Source: CNBC
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