As we all know (or should) by now, the Office of Personnel Management has stated that personal data, including Social Security numbers, were stolen from current, prospective and former federal employees. Other information hacked are fingerprints, financial information and addresses. The OPM states anyone who applied for a background check in 2000 onwards is more than likely affected. Well, that isn’t certainly good news for me and my family.

“It’s a very significant breach,” Reginald Hyde, the Director of the Cyber Institute at the University of Alabama said. As I’ve also stated in a previous post, the OPM processes security clearances, so those of you who have been through one (from 2000 onwards – but most likely farther back) can be fairly certain that your information and the information of your close family and friends that were investigated in the process are in the hands of…do we know (drum roll)?

“Hyde says a lot of this information ends up being sold on the black market. He also adds if a foreign government is behind this, the implications could be a lot bigger.” “This is extremely serious because all of this data that they collected could be used to target Americans will high level security clearances for espionage purposes,” Hyde added.

Not good.

Hyde believes the OPM system is most likely an “open system”. What does that mean? “Systems like OPMs, I presume, had to have some interface with the outside world. I don’t know that for sure. They were probably not closed systems. So if systems aren’t closed it becomes very difficult to secure them because there’s a broad range of ways of attacking,” Hyde said. The OPM recently stated they will be working with theft monitoring companies to provide protection and restoration services to those affected, but I have yet to discover specific details regarding this commitment. I’m certain more information will be announced.