White House officials confirmed on Friday that this latest cyber attack may have exposed data on security clearance investigations and other job background checks. The forms filled out in question are Standard Form 86, required to be filled out by applicants asking for deeply personal information about mental health, drug and alcohol use, past arrests and bankruptcies. They also require the listing of contacts and relatives, potentially exposing any foreign relatives of U.S. intelligence employees to coercion. Both the applicant’s Social Security number and that of his or her cohabitant is required. A U.S. official says the hackers may have gained access to some of the data but unsure how much they gained.
Officials discovered the latest attack as they were investigating the previous attack on the Office of Personal Management, which exposed nearly 4 million past and present federal employees. OPM spokesman Samuel Schumach and Jackie Koszczuk, the director of communications, have consistently said there was no evidence that security clearance information had been compromised. officials said they believe the hack into the security clearance database was separate from the breach of federal personnel data announced last week — a breach that is itself appearing far worse than first believed.
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