A second hacking attack on records of federal employee records was disclosed by the government on Thursday and may involve information of about 21.5 million Americans, federal officials said.
According to the investigative team:
“Has now 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,” said a report from the Office of Personnel Management.
The report added that “this includes 19.7 million individuals that applied for a background investigation, and 1.8 million non-applicants, predominantly spouses or co-habitants of applicants.”
Last month, the OPM database was hacked. In investigating the cyber attack it announced June 4, the OPM report said that during its probe it “recently discovered that additional systems were compromised.”
The office said “these systems included those that contain information related to the background investigations of current, former, and prospective Federal government employees, as well as other individuals for whom a Federal background investigation was conducted.”
At the time the disclosure of the hacking in early June was made, the Office of Personnel Management said it was notifying up to 4 million current and former employees whose information may have been compromised. Thursday’s announcement however involves more than five times that original number.
The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are currently investigating the hack that some officials have been able to trace to China, though the Chinese government has denied involvement.