More Federal Personnel Records Hacked

WJMore federal personnel records have been hacked than previously reported and U.S. officials are weighing responses ranging from new counterintelligence initiatives to destroying the data in the intruders? servers, according to people briefed on the investigation.

Already considered one of the largest thefts of U.S. government personnel data in history, investigators now estimate that it may include data on as many as 14 million people, more than triple the 4 million current and former government employees reported by the Office of Personnel Management last week, according to one lawmaker who asked not to be identified when discussing the investigation.

Four others, including lawmakers and people briefed on the investigation, said the number of people whose data was stolen was significantly higher than 4 million. They said the government doesn?t have a full count yet because multiple investigations are under way, including into whether other agencies were hit, according to officials involved in the inquiries.

The hackers rifled computers unseen for months, vacuuming up huge quantities of data. Security firms say forensic evidence links the thefts to similar attacks on health-insurance providers Anthem Inc. and Premera Blue Cross that were reported earlier this year and are suspected by U.S. officials to be the work of the Chinese government — a charge the Chinese embassy has denied.

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