Science and Technology News

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

OPM data breach: Staying vigilant

by Airman 1st Class Tara Fadenrecht
22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

10/26/2015 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, approximately 25 million federal employees had personal information stolen as a result of two separate, but related, cybersecurity incidents on its systems since the end of 2013.

Individuals impacted by the second, larger OPM data breach are being notified strictly through postal mail, not email. The letter will include a personal identification number and explain the next steps the affected individual should take, said the OPM organization.

"About one-fifteenth of the population of the United States is affected by these data breaches," said Steven Eftink, 22nd Air Refueling Wing information protection chief. "That's a lot of people, and the impact is going to be felt for quite a while."

Social security numbers, usernames and passwords used to fill out background investigation forms, financial history and information about immediate family were just some of the records that were stolen. The compromised personal information not only included recently updated data, but also data from years ago, according to the OPM office of communications.

"Everybody is affected," said Eftink. "Every military member, every contractor, every civilian employed back to the year 2000 is probably affected by this."
It is important for individuals involved to be aware of the many ways in which they can monitor the situation and protect themselves from further damage.  One simple way people can stay alert is to keep an eye on their credit report.

"Individuals need to be cognizant and make sure they monitor their credit reports," he said. "That is crucial. That will probably be one of the first indicators that your financial information is being misused."

For more information regarding the OPM data breaches and how to protect your personal information visit Questions can be directed to

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