The recent hack of the Office of Personnel Management is far worse than originally thought. Many of our readers have a credible risk of exposure and unfortunately the picture is worse than initially reported. OPM officials have recently updated their initial assessment of 1.1 million fingerprints exposed to 5.6 million, a fivefold increase. The hack compromised social security numbers, BI files and complete personnel files.
Finger prints are problematic in that they’re biometric data. You can change passwords, request new account numbers and subscribe to credit monitoring and protection, but biometric data is a very different story. Finger prints are used to access physical facilities, they are used in generating encryption keys and even provide fast track logins to secure systems. Furthermore, since they are part of a file that is connected to college transcripts, birth certificates, passports and other official documents they uniquely link to the individuals identity.
If you’ve been impacted by, or think you’ve been impacted, by the OPM hack, I advise you to contact the OPM to determine the extent of your exposure and evaluate options to mitigate your risks.