21 Million Social Security Numbers Leaked and Counting


July 10, 2015 | DevOps | joanna mastrocola


Two government breaches that leaked the confidential information of millions of Americans made headlines last month. The second breach made news again this week as the initial calculations of how many people whose information had been compromised were drastically too low. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) just announced that an enormous 21 million social security numbers were jeopardized in the breach.

As is typical with any major breach, there has been a great deal of speculation as to what happened and who is to blame. Here are five interesting articles about the cyber attack. Each delivers different details and gives you varying perspectives on the incident.

  1. This article from the National Journal  reports that the data breach occurred back in May 2014 and that it is being tied to China. FBI Director James Comey was among the millions of people affected. People who underwent background checks during or after the year 2000 are very likely to have been affected, however, those who had checks prior to 2000 could still be compromised.
  2. This Wall Street Journal article reveals that the hackers accessed the Standard Form 86, also called the SF-86. This form has information not only about the applicants themselves but also personal information about their family members and friends. The records that were accessed date back over 20 years.
  3. Wired reports that more than just government employees were impacted by the breach. The article states that because the hackers had been in the system for so long we still don’t know how much information they actually accessed, something that might take a good deal of time to figure out. The article also criticizes how the government is handling the situation, outlining some key questions that must be answered going forward.
  4. This opinion piece from The Huffington Post highlights that although this breach might not be the biggest we have seen in terms of the number of people affected, it surpasses every other attack in scope and depth of information. The all-inclusive and highly sensitive nature of the personal details taken makes this breach potentially life altering for the victims.
  5. The criticisms of OPM Director Katherine Archuleta are highlighted in this article from CNN. Some of the criticisms are that she had no background in technology and she never spoke with the Director of the FBI to discuss the investigation. The piece also points out that prior to accepting the job Archuleta promised, “If confirmed as director of OPM, improved management of OPM’s IT, including proper security and data management, will be one of my top priorities.”  Archuleta has recently resigned.

Read a good article about the OPM breach? Leave a comment below or tweet to us @ConjurInc, we would love to hear from you! Check back next week for more info about what’s going on in the news.





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