More federal personnel records have been hacked than previously reported, and U.S. officials are weighing responses ranging from new counterintelligence initiatives to destroying the data in the intruders' servers, reports Bloomberg. One of the largest thefts of U.S. government personnel data in history, investigators estimate that it may include data on as many as 14 million people, more than triple the 4 million current and former government employees reported by the Office of Personnel Management last week.
Hackers rifled computers unseen for months, vacuuming up huge quantities of data. Security firms say forensic evidence links the thefts to similar attacks on health-insurance providers Anthem Inc. and Premera Blue Cross reported earlier this year and are suspected by U.S. officials to be the work of the Chinese government. The Chinese denied involvement. The hackers “are now in possession of all personnel data for every federal employee, every federal retiree, and up to one million former federal employees,” including pay history, health insurance and military records, J. David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, told the Office of Personnel Management yesterday.