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Another 21.5 million affected by OPM data breach

By
Danielle Haynes
The Office of Personnel Management said the personal data of another 21.5 million people has been compromised by a data breach. Those affected are people who underwent background checks for possible jobs with the federal government. Photo: Mark Van Scyoc / ShutterStock
The Office of Personnel Management said the personal data of another 21.5 million people has been compromised by a data breach. Those affected are people who underwent background checks for possible jobs with the federal government. Photo: Mark Van Scyoc / ShutterStock

WASHINGTON, July 9 (UPI) -- The personal information of an additional 21.5 million people was compromised as part of a data breach at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the department said Thursday.

OPM said that while officials investigated a breach in which the personal data of 4.2 million current and former federal employees was stolen, they found even more information was compromised.

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The newly announced data breach involves the personal information of people who underwent background checks with the office, including current, former and prospective federal employees and contractors. The stolen information includes the social security numbers of "19.7 million individuals that applied for a background investigation, and 1.8 million non-applicants, primarily spouses or co-habitants of applicants," a release from OPM said.

In addition to social security numbers, the findings from background investigation interviews and 1.1 million fingerprints were also compromised.

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OPM said it hasn't yet begun notifying people who have been affected by the breach. Anyone who underwent a background check with OPM in 2000 or after is "highly likely" to be affected by the breach. Those who underwent background investigations prior to 2000 could also be affected, but it is less likely.

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"At this time, there is no information to suggest misuse of the information that was stolen from OPM's systems," the OPM release said. "We will begin to notify people affected by the background investigation incident in the coming weeks. At that time, you will be auto-enrolled in some services and will need to take action to enroll in others."

The new announcement comes on the same day a second federal workers union filed a lawsuit against the government for the hack of 4.2 million employees' data. The complaint came from the U.S. Treasury Employee Union, which represents 85,000 federal employees.

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