Tags: Emerging Threats | Homeland Security | opm | Hack | Cybersecurity | fingerprints | china

Experts: Stolen Fingerprints Scariest Part of Massive OPM Hack

Experts: Stolen Fingerprints Scariest Part of Massive OPM Hack
(Kilukilu/Dreamstime)

By    |   Wednesday, 15 July 2015 12:21 PM

National security and cybersecurity experts tell the National Journal that the theft of 1.1 million fingerprints from the Office of Professional Management is more worrisome than the stolen personal data of the office’s 21. 5 million current and former employees.

"There's no situation we've had like this before, the compromise of our fingerprints," said Jim Penrose, former chief of the Operational Discovery Center at the National Security Agency. "And it doesn't have any easy remedy or fix in the world of intelligence."

Fingerprints are "permanent in nature" and experts are uncertain what plans the hackers have for them, resulting in "a knowledge gap that undergirds just how frightening many view the mass lifting of them from OPM," according to the Journal.

In addition to current and former federal employees and contractors, the breach — traced to the Chinese government though the Obama administration has yet to publicly finger Beijing — exposed the personal information of relatives and friends listed as references "in applications for security clearances for some of the most sensitive jobs in government," according to the Washington Post.

Officials believe it's "highly likely" that the unprecedented hack exposed "every file associated with an OPM-managed security clearance application since 2000."

Experts opined to the National Journal that the Chinese may have conducted the massive identity theft "to build databases on the ins and out of the U.S. government and to potentially coerce, blackmail, or bribe officials into divulging closely guarded secrets."

There are a host of scenarios that could play out, biometrics expert Ramesh Kesanupalli told the Journal, such as the identities of undercover agents — with the exception of most CIA spies — being revealed when crossing borders under aliases as well a fingerprint black market on the Internet "that could be useful to a buyer for decades."

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National security and cybersecurity experts tell the National Journal that the theft of 1.1 million fingerprints from the Office of Professional Management is more worrisome than the stolen personal data of the office's 21.5 million current and former employees.
opm, Hack, Cybersecurity, fingerprints, china
297
2015-21-15
Wednesday, 15 July 2015 12:21 PM
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