The information of many government employees could be at risk after Chinese hackers gained access to the databases of the Office of Personnel Management in March. The databases included the private information of people applying for security clearance.
The intrusion at the Office of Personnel Management was particularly disturbing because it oversees a system called e-QIP, in which federal employees applying for security clearances enter their most personal information, including financial data.
The Department of Homeland Security is now looking into the attack and trying to find out what information was taken.
These sorts of attempts by hackers are nothing new. Hackers try to access government servers ever day. But, this attack is special because the hackers actually succeeded in getting into a few databases before being detected and blocked. The last successful attack that the government told us about happened last year when hackers stole employee and contractor personal data from the Department of Energy.
The government doesn't know if these hackers were acting alone or if they work for the Chinese government. In May, U.S. charged hackers from the People's Liberation Army with stealing corporate secrets from American companies.
The documents released by Edward Snowden showed that China isn't alone in these type of activities. The NSA stole data from a computer network company and ran programs to listen to conversations from Chinese military and political leaders.
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