In June, the United States faced one of the largest cyber breaches the government has ever seen, but the size of the computer hack was far greater than first expected.

 

It was originally thought that 4.2 million current and former federal employees had their information stolen by the hands of Chinese hackers. FBI Director James Comey told senators during a briefing that the number of people affected is actually around 18 million.

 

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey was the bearer of bad news when he unveiled the extent of damage done by the security breach. (huffingtonpost.com)

The count extended beyond federal employees but also included those who had applied for U.S. government jobs but did not get hired. Everyone who has attempted to work for the federal government will now need to closely monitor their bank accounts and change all of their passwords.

 

The types of information stolen is also much worse than previously thought. The hackers now have files that include intimate details of the employees that could consist of criminal activity, debt, drug abuse, and sexual partners.

 

When the breach first occurred, Obama administration officials acknowledged that personal information was found by hackers in a questionnaire called the Standard Form 86. Anyone applying to work for the U.S. government is required to fill out the form to receive security clearance.

 

According to, Michael Adams, a computer security expert at the United States Special Operations Command, there was more personal information stolen than the contents of the questionnaire.

 

“Whoever compromised the adjudication information is going to have clear knowledge, beyond what’s in the SF86, about who the best targets for espionage are in the United States,” said Adams to The Daily Beast.

 

Now that the U.S. government faces a greater risk of espionage, the tension between the United States and China tightens. Hopefully in the near future, the two countries will be able to work out these issues before it escalates further.

 

What will be the United State’s response to this large scale cyber security breach? Leave a comment or talk to me on Twitter @Karbowski_Devon.