On June 4th, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), effectively the human resources department for the U.S. Government, confirmed that almost four million current and past employees had been affected by a massive security breach. A new data penetration monitor named Einstein had detected the breach that actually occurred in April. At the same time, the OPM stated that “[i]n order to mitigate the risk of fraud and identity theft, OPM is offering affected individuals credit monitoring services and identity theft insurance.”
Mark Van Scyoc / Shutterstock
Senate Intelligence Committee member Susan Collins stated that this was an indication of a foreign power trying to “identify people with security clearances.” The hacked information was said to include employee job assignments, performance reviews and employee training. However, since June 4th the estimated number of people affected has said to have risen to 14 million, and the American Federation of Government Employees has stated that they believe far more personal information about victims has been compromised. J. David Cox, their president wrote, "We believe that the Central Personnel Data File was the targeted database, and that 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." He went on to state that his federation believes the hackers stole military records and veterans' status information, address, birth date, job and pay history, health insurance, life insurance and pension information; and age, gender and race data; and worse: "We believe that Social Security numbers were not encrypted.” We at Zix know the importance of protecting personal data such as birth dates and health information, and we know that the most precious of personal information is your social security number. Zix is famous for having the best filters and lexicons for ensuring that Social Security Numbers are not sent via email by mistake; and, that when you do need to send them, they are securely encrypted. Make sure you are securing the Social Security Numbers of your clients and your employees. Contact Zix to learn how.