WASHINGTON —A federal employee union says hackers stole personnel data and Social Security numbers for every federal employee, charging that the cyberattack on federal employee data is far worse than the Obama administration has acknowledged.
It is believed to be the biggest data breach on U.S. government computer networks ever.
There are 17,600 federal employees who live in Connecticut, according to the Department of Labor, and some of them people may be part of the 4 million or more employees whose data was stolen. If you work for the federal government, we have a bunch of tips on how to monitor your information and what to do if you notice irregularity.
Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, said on the Senate floor that the December hack into Office of Personnel Management data was carried out by “the Chinese.” Reid is one of eight lawmakers who is briefed on the most secret intelligence information.
J. David Cox, president of the American Federal of Government Employees, said in a letter to OPM director Katherine Archuleta that based on OPM’s internal briefings, the hackers stole military records and veterans’ status information, address, birth date, job and pay history, health insurance, life insurance, and pension information; age, gender, race data.
“We believe that Social Security numbers were not encrypted, a cybersecurity failure that is absolutely indefensible and outrageous,” the letter said.
Also on Friday, the Senate voted down a new cybersecurity bill. The Republicans were four votes short of the number necessary to move the legislation ahead.
The bill would give private companies the ability to share cyberthreat data with the government and other companies without fear of lawsuits for releasing private information about customers or for anti-trust violations.
The House passed the law in April, but Democrats in the Senate, as well as some Libertarian Republicans, were against the measure because they felt it was just another method of surveillance by the federal government that could violate citizens’ privacy rights.
Another sticking point was the attempt by some members of Congress to link it to the National Defense Authorization, which the president has threatened to veto due to budget changes made by the GOP.