Hackers breached the computer system of the U.S. government agency that collects personnel information for federal workers, compromising the data of about 4 million current and former employees, U.S. officials said on Thursday

Authorities suspect the cyber attack originated in China, according to media reports, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it had launched a probe and would hold the culprits accountable.

The Office of Personnel Management detected new malicious activity affecting its information systems in April and the Department of Homeland Security said it concluded at the beginning of May that the agency’s data had been compromised.

The breach affected OPM’s IT systems and its data stored at the Department of the Interior’s data center, which is a shared service center for federal agencies, a DHS official said on condition of anonymity. The official would not comment on whether other agencies’ data had been affected.

OPM had previously been the victim of a cyberattack, as have various federal government computer systems at the State Department, the U.S. Postal Service and the White House.

“The FBI is working with our interagency partners to investigate this matter,” the bureau said in a statement. “We take all potential threats to public and private sector systems seriously, and will continue to investigate and hold accountable those who pose a threat in cyberspace.”

Since the intrusion, OPM said it had implemented additional security precautions for its networks. It said it would notify the 4 million people affected and offer credit monitoring and identity theft services to the people affected.

“The last few months have seen a series of massive data breaches that have affected millions of Americans,” U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a statement.

But he called the latest intrusion “among the most shocking because Americans may expect that federal computer networks are maintained with state of the art defenses.”

“It’s clear that a substantial improvement in our cyber databases and defenses is perilously overdue,” Schiff added.

(Writing by Matt Spetalnick and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Sandra Maler, Peter Cooney and Bernard Orr)

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