Last week when the Obama administration announced the massive hack into the government employee database, we knew it was going to be bad. Millions of government employees had their security clearances, Social Security information, addresses and tons of other private information stolen.
New details have now come to light that make it clear this hack was a bigger deal than we originally thought. Now, 14 million people are believed to have had their information stolen by the suspected Chinese hackers. Initially the government reported that only 4 million people were affected, but that number was soon increased more than three-fold.
While there are only about 4.2 million government employees currently, this database breach apparently included former government employees dating back to the 1980s. Other reports indicate that contractors' information was compromised, as well. So, even if you haven't worked for the government in decades, your information is still at risk.
The hack was discovered this April as a new security program was being tested to better protect government databases. While the prototype was being used, it picked up on malicious activity that was compromising the security of its information technology systems. And boy, did it really pick up on something nasty!
We don't know if the hacking was carried out by Chinese government officials or civilians. There hasn't been any further indication of this since the Democratic Senate leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, said he knew it was, "the Chinese." Reid is one of only a handful of people who is debriefed on the most secretive intelligence information directly from the White House.