Data stolen in the recent hack of U.S. government computers includes security clearance information and background checks dating to 1985, a U.S. official said, underlining the far-reaching scale of one of the largest known thefts of federal government data.

“This is deep. The data goes back to 1985. This means that they potentially have information about retirees, and they could know what they did after leaving government,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Access to information from the breach at Office of Personnel Management computer networks, such as birthdates, Social Security numbers and bank information, could help hackers test potential passwords to other sites, including those containing information about critical weapons systems, said the official.

“That could give them a huge advantage.”

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal. Editing by Jason Szep and Doina Chiacu)

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