OPM admits that 5.6 million fingerprints were stolen in massive breach

opm breach fingerprints shutterstock 208573624
Roman Seliutin
What was once estimated to be 1.1 million fingerprints stolen in an extended breach on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) last year, has grown to 5.6 million. This is in addition to the approximately 21.5 million government employees and contractors whose personal information was compromised.

The growing stash of information taken has thus far included these fingerprints, ‘sensitive’ information, and social security numbers. The SF86 form was a likely target of information, as it is a required document for all applicants in the security clearance process. Applicants share their personal background information — including family information, residences, drug backgrounds, bank records, job assignments and more — in the extensive questionnaire.

shutterstock_208573624The release of this updated figure appears to be the product of an ongoing investigation into exactly what was lost. OPM released a statement that says that “an interagency working group with expertise in this area — including the FBI, DHS, DOD, and other members of the Intelligence Community — will review the potential ways adversaries could misuse fingerprint data now and in the future.”

The statement adds that “An interagency team will continue to analyze and refine the data as it prepares to mail notification letters to impacted individuals.”

Critics are notably concerned by the severity of the information lost in the breach, and are also looking at the gradual release of information regarding what was lost and who was affected. This latest update, according to the OPM, “does not increase the overall estimate of 21.5 million individuals impacted by the incident.”

OPM has tried to assuage the outrage by stating that those affected by the breach will be eligible for identity theft and fraud protection services at no cost. Additionally, the office has said that “federal experts believe that, as of now, the ability to misuse fingerprint data is limited.” Hopefully those aren’t the same experts that were supposed to protect this information in the first place. Cybersecurity experts have pointed at how the OPM had knowledge that their systems were vulnerable, but did nothing to secure them. China has been implicated in the breach and it is interesting that this revelation has come ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Washington D.C. with President Obama. Cybersecurity issues are reportedly part of the scope of discussion on the agenda.


Happy Valentine’s Day! Coffee Meets Bagel dating app data may have been breached

Are you planning on using Coffee Meets Bagel to find love on Valentine's Day? If you've been using the app for a while, you'll probably want to change your password -- the company said a data breach may have taken place before May 2018.

Apple loses battle to use Intel modems in Germany in latest clash with Qualcomm

Apple is following the Federal Trade Commission's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.

500px reveals almost 15 million users are caught up in security breach

Almost 15 million members of portfolio website 500px have been caught up in a security breach. The hack occurred in 2018 but was only discovered last week. Users are being told to change their 500px password as soon as possible.

9 million veterans can now access their health records on an iPhone

Apple announced a partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that allows as many as 9 million veterans to access their health records straight on their iPhone. The announcement could have a significant impact on veterans'…

Use one of these password managers to help protect yourself online

The internet can be a scary place, especially if you don't have a proper password manager. This guide will show you the best password managers you can get right now, including both premium and free options.

YouTube beats Apple, Netflix as the most trusted brand by millennials

The popular video sharing website YouTube climbed up in an annual Mblm study, moving up from third place in 2018 and coming ahead of both Apple and Netflix in final 2019 rankings. 

Is the 5G spectrum harmful to our health? Experts say, 'Don't freak out'

There's plenty of consumer anxiety about radiofrequency (RF) radiation, specifically around millimeter waves (mmWave) used on 5G networks, but is it based in reality? We asked the FDA to give us its official view on the subject.

Russia will ‘unplug’ from the internet as part of a cyber-defense test

Authorities across Russia are planning on unplugging the country from the global internet as part of a test of its cyber defenses. The disconnection will briefly keep all internet traffic inside the country.

These are the coolest games you can play on your Google Chrome browser right now

Not only is Google Chrome a fantastic web browser, it's also a versatile gaming platform that you can access from just about anywhere. Here are a few of our favorite titles for the platform.

Gmail adds lots of new functionality to its right-click menu

Right-click on an email in Gmail and the list of actions is pretty limited. That's about to change, though, as Google has just announced it's expanding the list of options to make its email client that little bit more useful.

Tired of paying a monthly fee for Word? The best Microsoft Office alternatives

Looking for a competent word processor that isn't Microsoft Word? Thankfully, the best alternatives to Microsoft Office offer robust features, expansive compatibility, and an all-too-familiar aesthetic. Here are our favorites.

File Transfer Protocol explained: What FTP is and what it does

FTP stands for "File Transfer Protocol," and it's used to transfer files online. Most internet users don't need it, but web developers use it constantly. Here's what FTP is, how it works, and how you can get started using it.

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier today than ever, but choosing the right tool for the job isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our two favorite online tools.

Lose the key for your favorite software? These handy tools can find it for you

Missing product keys getting you down? We've chosen some of the best software license and product key finders in existence, so you can locate and document your precious keys on your Windows or MacOS machine.