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Chinese hackers stole the personal information of about 7% of America from the US government

More than 20 million people had their personal information stolen when Office of Personnel Management (OPM) servers were breached by Chinese hackers last year, sources close to the agency are reporting.

The New York Times and the government are reporting 21.5 million, and CNN is reporting 22.1 million. ABC and Reuters have reported 25 million.

In a statement, OPM said hackers stole the Social Security numbers of 21.5 million people, including 19.7 million individuals who applied for a background investigation.

In any case, the figure is much higher than OPM’s original estimate of 4 million and amounts to roughly 7% of the US population.

OPM reports that the types of compromised information may also include Social Security numbers; residency and educational history; employment history; information about immediate family and personal and business acquaintances; and health, criminal, and financial history that would have been part of a background investigation.

ABC notes that “US intelligence and law enforcement officials are particularly concerned over the theft of forms known as SF-86s that current and prospective federal workers, including certain military personnel, and even contractors submit for security clearances.”

The 120-page questionnaire is an exhaustive examination of an applicant’s personal history, including their financial records (including gambling addictions and any outstanding debt), drug use, alcoholism, arrests, psychological and emotional health, foreign travel, foreign contacts, and an extensive list of all relatives.


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