The entrance to the Theodore Roosevelt Federal Building, which houses the Office of Personnel Management headquarters, in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
The public may never know the full national security repercussions of a pair of catastrophic hacking attacks on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that were disclosed earlier this month. The perpetrators appear to have breached OPM’s systems and scooped up personal information, including Social Security numbers, on millions of current and former federal workers and contractors.
The White House has thus far refused to pin the unprecedented intrusion on any one country, though Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has blamed “the Chinese.” The number of federal workers and contractors potentially affected is in dispute but seems to be escalating. And there are reasons to doubt early denials from OPM that the assailants made off with sensitive security information about intelligence staff and military personnel.
But the potential personal impacts on individual government workers are becoming clearer, thanks to an OPM email offering millions of them a range of services including identity theft insurance policies worth up to $1 million.
The offers came in a message from OPM’s chief information officer, Donna Seymour. Yahoo News obtained a copy from a source who received the message shortly after 6 p.m. on June 9, four days after OPM admitted to the disastrous breach.
The source, who requested anonymity, said the agency they work for was also offering counseling services “for anyone who is experiencing stress from the situation.”
Seymour’s chilling notice announces, “You are receiving this notification because we have determined that the data compromised in this incident may have included your personal information, such as your name, Social Security number, date and place of birth, and current or former address.”
The rest of the message conjures up nightmare scenarios for what someone might do with that purloined information — such as committing a crime under a federal worker’s stolen identity. It also emphasizes that “while we are not aware of any misuse of your information,” OPM has partnered with a private-sector identity theft protection firm called CSID to mitigate the damage.
[“source – yahoo.com”]