Local federal agents caught up in cyber hack

July 9, 2015: Sources confirm that several people working for federal agencies in Northeast Ohio have been victimized by a cyber attack.

CLEVELAND -- Sources confirm to WKYC Channel 3's Hilary Golston that several of those working for federal agencies in Northeast Ohio have been victimized by the cyber attack that's resulted in 21.5 million social security numbers being stolen.

The source spoke on the condition of anonymity, because she is not authorized to comment publicly on the incident.

The attack on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management also compromised 1.1 million fingerprint records and other personal information, including health and criminal histories.

The information of federal workers' family members and neighbors, which may have been provided on forms, could also be at risk.

Applicants for federal jobs who requested background checks, may also have had information compromised.

The hack has been traced to at least two separate events, the first of which was detected in April. The investigation revealed the attack was much more wide-sweeping than the original smaller breech.

Workers must not only be concerned with compromised personal information that could be used for nefarious purposes, but also history they may not be proud of.

"Most of us don't live completely transparently, and you have to divulge it when you're getting that security clearance," Eric Vanderburg, the Director of Information Systems and Security at JURINNOV tells Golston. "Now they're probably all going, oh no!"

The company, with offices in downtown Cleveland, helps companies better manage and track electronic information. Vanderburg says the breach is unique in that "now the attackers have information that will allow them to let's say blackmail, to discover passwords based on all this personal information and to really do a lot more damage."

While China is the suspected attacker for at least one of the incidents, officials haven't pinned down who's responsible.

"Did OPM mess up…did they fall short here in protecting the information of millions of people?" Golston asked Vanderburg. "It's hard to answer that one right now," replied Vandenburg.

Follow Hilary on Twitter @HilaryWKYC.

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