Union says Chinese hackers got sensitive data on all US govt staff


WASHINGTON - Suspected Chinese hackers who infiltrated the US government's human resource records have sensitive information on all federal employees, an American union said Thursday.

In a letter to authorities, the American Federation of Government Employees said it believes hackers - who others have linked to China - obtained confidential identification numbers that each American needs to get a job, a driving license or a bank account.

"We believe that Social Security numbers were not encrypted, a cybersecurity failure that is absolutely indefensible and outrageous," union president David Cox said in a letter to the government's Office of Personnel Management.

"The hackers are now in possession of all personnel data for every federal employee, every federal retiree, and up to one million former federal employees." The union said that data concerning an individual's address, date of birth, salary and military record were also compromised.

The US government last week admitted that data linked to at least four million current and former federal employees was hacked.

The breach of the Office of Personnel Management included records on 750,000 Department of Defence civilian personnel.

"The precise scope of this particular intrusion is one that continues to be under investigation by the FBI and other technical experts," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday.

"We have already begun the process of contacting those that we, thus far, believe could potentially have been affected."