The U.S. Government says that it suspects China of hacking a government database with information from over 4 million federal employees.
The database accessed by the cyber-spies includes information such as security clearance passwords, background checks, and other sensitive data going back three years, said US. officials. The personal data of 4 million past and present U.S. employees could be at risk.
According to Business Insider, sources with the government say that the hacking is believed to be based in China, though no word yet on what evidence there is to support that claim.
“This is deep. The data goes back to 1985,” said one official who wished to remain anonymous. “This means that they potentially have information about retirees and they could know what they did after leaving the government….that could give them a huge advantage.”
The social security numbers, birth dates and bank information of these employees can not only be a threat to the former workers, but can also potentially be used to get passwords to other sites in order to gain even more sensitive information.
For their part, the Chinese government has spoken out saying that they had nothing to do with the hacking. Via Huffington Post, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said that making these unverified allegations were irresponsible of the United States. “We know that hacker attacks are conduced anonymously across nations and that it’s hard to track the source,” said Hong. It’s irresponsible and unscientific to make conjectural trumped-up allegations without deep investigation.