The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) said today that hackers stole sensitive data, including social security numbers, of about 21.5 million people from background investigation databases.
That number is a hell of a lot higher than the 14 million figure investigators offered last month.
The 21.5 million included 19.7 million individuals who applied for security clearances, plus 1.8 million non-applicants, including mostly spouses or co-habitants of applicants, OPM said.
The 21.5 million affected is in addition to information about 4.2 million current and former federal workers stolen in a "separate, but related" incident. There is significant overlap between the two groups.
Investigators say say the government is "increasingly confident that China's government, and not criminal hackers, was responsible for the extraordinary theft of personal information." China denies this. [AP]