Fed Employees, Contractors, and Spouses Identities Compromised

According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the personal information of all current, former, and prospective Federal employees, contractors, and their spouses, who have been subject of a background investigations since 2000. The 21.5 million individuals compromised includes 19.7 million individuals that applied for a background investigation, and 1.8 million non-applicants, primarily spouses or co-habitants of applicants.

Types of information in the incident involving background investigation records:

  • Social Security Numbers
  • Residency and educational history
  • Employment history
  • Information about immediate family and personal and business acquaintances
  • Health, criminal and financial history

Some records could also include:

  • Findings from interviews conducted by background investigators
  • Fingerprints. 
  • Usernames and passwords used to fill out your forms

This is probably the worst possible data breach for the Federal government, and not because they're going to have to offer credit monitoring for everyone affected.

Noticeably absent from the release is any mention of "who" was responsible for this breach.
Many news sources believe the breach was the work of the Chinese government.

U.S. Senator Sasse believes the database will be used for spy recruitment, and even blackmail, according to Wired.

As a Federal contractor, I'm quite honestly terrified. While the Federal Government is offering identity theft protection, they are taking no steps to protect affected employees and contractors from blackmail attempts - and how could they? At this point, the only way to protect affected employees and contractors would be to give them, as well as their families, a completely new identity. Obviously, with 21.5 million affected individuals, this won't happen.

At the same time, I feel very betrayed, as I'm sure many Federal contractors and employees currently feel. If the Federal government did not take the protection of our personal information seriously, what's to ensure they will do so in the future? This could seriously impact the ability of the Federal government to gain new or retain existing employees or contractors - including myself.

Private sector - now's your chance! There are a lot of disgruntled Federal contractors who will probably jump at a chance to leave, and go somewhere their personal information will actually be protected. Start posting those open positions, and let the mass exodus from Federal contracting begin.

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