Report: Data breach not limited to federal employees

Report: Data breach not limited to federal employees

The recent hack on a database with the personal information of 4 million current and former government employees may have also yielded data on people that never worked in government, according to a report by ABC News.

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Data on those people could have ended up in the hands of hackers through SF-86 forms, which are used in federal employees’ background checks. Those forms include data on character references, including the worker’s family and friends.

"If the SF-86's associated with this hack were, in their entirety, part of the stolen information, then that would mean the potential release of a staggering amount of information, affecting an exponential amount of people," an anonymous American official told the network.

Those forms include the Social Security numbers of any partner or spouse, and the names and addresses of other family members.

The Office of Personnel Management will be sending out notifications to people whose data may have been taken as part of the breach over the next two weeks, administration officials have said. Those notifications will likely shed more light on what type of data is part of the hack.

Some anonymous U.S. government officials have pointed the finger at Chinese hackers in news reports, but the White House pushed back on those assertions during a news conference on Friday.

“No conclusions about the attribution of this particular attack have been reached at this point,” press secretary Josh Earnest said.

He added that the government might not publicize the culprit once it discovers who hacked the system.

“Even if a conclusion is reached about who is responsible, I can't guarantee necessarily that our law enforcement professionals will assess that making that information public is in the best interest of their investigation,” he added.