As if the importance of having a strong security system wasn’t obvious already, the US government was hacked once again, and the event has shown that cyber security should be everyone’s number one priority.
But this time, the hack could have dire consequences, as it was the White House Office of Personnel Management (OPM) that got hacked. The OPM is full of government officials’ secrets, including sex, alcohol and drug abuse.
U.S. officials suspect the attack was linked to China, although they have less confidence about the origins of the attack.
China has denied any involvement in hacking U.S. databases.
Intelligence veterans said the breach may prove disastrous because China could use it to find relatives of U.S. officials abroad as well as evidence of love affairs or drug use which could be used to blackmail or influence U.S. officials, Business Insider writes in a report.
It could also unmask covert operatives on the field, it says.
"The potential loss here is truly staggering and, by the way, these records are a legitimate foreign intelligence target," said retired Gen. Michael Hayden, a former CIA and NSA director. "This isn't shame on China. This is shame on us."
According to US officials, the data that may be compromised by the incident include detailed personal information in the SF 86 "QUESTIONNAIRE FOR NATIONAL SECURITY POSITIONS”.
The SF 86 form, which is 127-pages long, is extraordinarily comprehensive and intrusive. Among other things, applicants must list where they have lived; contacts with foreign citizens and travel abroad; the names and personal details of relatives; illegal drug use and mental health counseling except in limited circumstances.