U.S officials stated that the hack attack by suspected Chinese hackers included sensitive data dating back to 1985. The breach was disclosed on Thursday, in which more than four million records of current and federal employees have been compromised.
The hack attack was targeted at the computer systems of the Office of Personal Management. According to a source at the FBI, a total of 2.1 million current U.S government workers’ information has been affected. On Friday, federal employees were told to change their passwords, and to activate fraud alerts on credit cards as there was a risk of foreign services to exploit them.
Dan Payne, senior counterintelligence official for the Director of National intelligence stated that some of you might think that you are not of interest because you don’t have access to classified information. You are mistaken, he added. Though federal officials have tracked the origin of attack to China, they are still investigating if it the work of an individual hacker or a state-sponsored attack. The Chinese said that any accusation would be “irresponsible and unscientific.”
The attack is likely to further increase the tensions between the U.S and China in the midst of territorial claims over South China sea. A U.S defense official said that the cyber attack was among the most extensive thefts of information on the federal work force, and it was clearly aimed at gaining valuable information. The hackers are likely to have information about the retirees, and what they did after leaving government as data dating back to 1985 have been breached.
The official mentioned that the kind of data compromised in the incident could include name, date of birth, Social Security Number, job assignments, training files, performance ratings, current and former addresses. This could give them a huge advantage, the official added.