The head of the Office of Personnel Management refused on Wednesday to estimate how many millions of Americans were affected by recent hack attacks on her agency’s computers, but rejected as premature reports 18 million were compromised.

OMP Director Katherine Archuleta conceded the number of people whose data was hacked could increase from initial estimates.

OPM said this month it was victim of a cyber attack involving personnel data of 4.2 million current and former federal employees. Another attack targeted information of millions more Americans who applied for security clearances. Some media reports said 18 million were affected.

“It is my understanding that the 18 million refers to a preliminary, unverified and approximate number of unique social security numbers in the background investigations data,” Archuleta said at a House of Representatives hearing.

“It is a number that I am not comfortable with at this time.”

In her second appearance in as many weeks before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Archuleta defended her agency’s response to the hacking incidents, the most recent of which was detected in April. It was the second of three Capitol Hill hearings this week on the OPM breaches.

Lawmakers have called the OPM response to questions about the hacking sluggish and incomplete. They have criticized the director, who has been in her job less than two years, and some suggested that she resign or at least shoulder the blame for the sweeping breaches, which U.S. authorities suspect is the work of Chinese hackers.

U.S. Representative Jason Chaffetz, the Republican committee chairman, exasperated by Archuleta’s refusal to provide an estimate, asked whether all 32 million current and former federal workers in its database could have been compromised.

Archuleta said the second breach, involving background checks for security clearances, is still being investigated and there may be overlap with data compromised in the other breach.

She did say the number of people affected by background investigations data intrusion “may well increase from these initial reports.”

Archuleta repeatedly rebuffed lawmakers attempts to get more information on the numbers of people at risk.

“As much as I want to have all the answers today, I do not want to be in a position of providing you and the affected individuals with potentially inaccurate data,” she said.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by David Gregorio)

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

Related Posts

Facebook Comments

Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲