Unknown hackers have recently hit the “PR” department of the U.S. government, stealing data for millions of employees – at least four million, according to an early estimate – including highly sensitive personal details that might be used to uncover spies and to blackmail U.S. officials.
New reports say that information stolen from the White House Office of Personnel Management (OPM) includes details regarding an official’s sex life, infidelities, drug abuse, money problems, psychiatric treatment, health issues, arrests and many others.
Data released online reveals one such case, Reuters reports. In a highly detailed security clearance, called Standard Form 86 (SF 86), a retired 51-year-old military man acknowledged in 2012 that he had an extra-marital affair for 20 years with the wife of his former college roommate.
He had told his wife about it only in 2014 after ending the affair in 2013, and he was given the security clearance he wanted once a judge looked over the SF 86 form.
“DOD (Department of Defense) is aware of the affair because Applicant disclosed it on his SF 86; the affair is over; and the key people in Applicant’s life are aware of it,” the judge wrote in what should have been a secret decision.
Similar SF 86 forms have been filled in many other government employees who were looking for clearance upgrades, and all that data could be now exposed to a third-party that might use it to threaten certain targets. The form is 127-page long, being “extraordinarily comprehensive and intrusive,” according to Reuters, and including highly detailed information about an individual’s personal life and family.
The data could be used to find undercover spies and compromise intelligence operations, on top of potentially blackmailing certain officials.
An U.S. official familiar with security procedures said that someone with access to a complete set of SF 86 forms, and a list of officials at U.S. embassies could quickly figure out who might be a spy.
Reuters’ full report is available at the source link.