The Office of Personnel Management was hit by a massive data breach that could have compromised the personal data of at least 4 million current and former federal employees, the Obama administration confirmed Thursday.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) said in a statement that in April it detected a “cyber-intrusion” that compromised its systems, and that it was sending notifications to approximately 4 million individuals whose personally identifiable information (PII) may have been accessed.
However, the agency that acts as the human resources department for the federal government and conducts more than 90 percent of federal background checks acknowledged that more individuals could have been affected.
“Since the investigation is on-going, additional PII exposures may come to light; in that case, OPM will conduct additional notifications as necessary,” the agency said in a statement.
The Associated Press, which first reported the breach, cited officials saying that the Interior Department had been hacked, while another official said that the breach could potentially affect every federal agency.
The Washington Post reported that the hack was believed to have originated in China, which would make the incident the second major breach from the Chinese in less than a year.
“Protecting our Federal employee data from malicious cyber incidents is of the highest priority at OPM,” OPM Director Katherine Archuleta said in a statement. “We take very seriously our responsibility to secure the information stored in our systems, and in coordination with our agency partners, our experienced team is constantly identifying opportunities to further protect the data with which we are entrusted.”
The agency advised those affected to monitor their bank accounts for unusual activity, and to request a credit report along with other safeguards against fraud.
The FBI said in a statement that it was working with interagency partners to investigate the breach.
In November, a former Department of Homeland Security official disclosed another cyberbreach that compromised the private files of more than 25,000 DHS workers and thousands of other federal employees.
FoxNews.com/The Associated Press contributed to this report.