Five Times More Fingerprints Were Stolen In OPM Data Breach Than Originally Estimated

The Office of Personnel Management announced today that the number of people whose fingerprints were stolen in the second of two data breaches that hit the agency’s servers is five times larger than originally estimated.

The Office of Personnel Management announced today that of the 21.5 million individuals whose Social Security Numbers and other sensitive information were impacted by the recent data breach, the subset of individuals whose fingerprints have been stolen has increased from a total of roughly 1.1 million to approximately 5.6 million.

OPM said that this does not increase the overall estimate of 21.5 million individuals impacted by the incident.

Federal experts believe that, as of now, the ability to misuse fingerprint data is limited. However, this probability could change over time as technology evolves. Therefore, an interagency working group with expertise in this area – including the FBI, DHS, DOD, and other members of the Intelligence Community – will review the potential ways adversaries could misuse fingerprint data now and in the future. This group will also seek to develop potential ways to prevent such misuse. If, in the future, new means are developed to misuse the fingerprint data, the government will provide additional information to individuals whose fingerprints may have been stolen in this breach.

The government is providing identity theft protection services to the impacted individuals. OPM recently announced it had awarded a $133 million contract to Identity Theft Guard Solutions LLC to provide the services.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.