The Washington Post reports: Two major breaches last year of U.S. government databases holding personnel records and security-clearance files exposed sensitive information about at least 22.1 million people, including not only federal employees and contractors but their families and friends, U.S. officials said Thursday.
The total vastly exceeds all previous estimates, and marks the most detailed accounting by the Office of Personnel Management of how many people were affected by cyber intrusions that U.S. officials have privately said were traced to the Chinese government.
But even beyond the rising number of apparent victims, U.S. officials said the breaches rank among the most potentially damaging cyber heists in U.S. government history because of the abundant detail in the files. Officials said hackers accessed not only personnel records of current and former employees but also extensive information about friends, relatives and others listed as references in applications for security clearances for some of the most sensitive jobs in government. [Continue reading…]