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OPM 'Fingers' Further Hacked Info

The online hacking of personnel, and "personal," data from millions of government workers, and prospective workers, from the Office of Personnel Management just keeps getting worse.

First there was the initial report of the attack back in early June. Then, it was OPM's announcement in July that the 4.2 million people whose info had been stolen was actually over 25 million.

Now, it is the announcement Wednesday that the 1.1 million fingerprints stolen as part of the hacks was actually 5.6 million.

The good news is that federal experts "believe" that the ability to use such fingerprints for nefarious purposes is limited.

Just in case, OPM is convening a working group to review the potential ways our "adversaries" could use those fingerprints. It is also making identity theft and fraud protection available to all impacted individuals and their dependents at no cost.

"In conjunction with the Department of Defense, OPM is working to begin mailing notifications to impacted individuals," OPM said.

“The massive new number of employees’ fingerprints that was breached is shocking," said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.). "[I]t does little to instill confidence in OPM that it took them so long to detect that the number was so much larger than originally thought. Because of the permanence of fingerprint data, it’s more important than ever that we pass the RECOVER Act, of which I’m a proud original cosponsor, to provide affected individuals with lifetime identity protection coverage.”  

Warner is a member of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee who has pushed for strengthening the government's cybersecurity defenses.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.