With nearly 1.5 million credit cards compromised, federal officials have announced a probe into a data breach at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management that led to the unauthorized use of information on more than 10 million U.s. employees.
The revelation comes just weeks after a second breach at OPM, which the agency blamed on a cyberattack that began in October.
More than 1.6 million U,S.
employees were affected by the breach, which took place after a security breach that was discovered in July.
OPM said in a statement on Friday that it is investigating “the possibility of an unauthorized access to personal data.”
A cybersecurity expert with the nonprofit Center for Strategic and International Studies, who spoke to Reuters, said the breach at U.N. headquarters at the time may have been the source of the second breach, but he said he believes the first breach was likely to have been caused by the same attackers.
The new breach at APM has caused more damage to the agency than the first, and the agency has yet to publicly identify who did it, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The first breach had occurred in July, and there was no evidence that the perpetrators had any prior knowledge of the breaches, said Gary Samore, a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.
Sampson, a former FBI agent who was also the lead investigator in the first APM hack, said APM had an “outstanding record” when it came to cybersecurity.
He said it was a good thing that the second incident had happened because it would have compromised information that had been stored on hundreds of thousands of U..
S.-based government employees.
“It’s an unfortunate and tragic situation,” Sampson said.
The new breach is just the latest in a string of attacks that have targeted U. S. agencies that have been hit by ransomware attacks.
It follows the attack that crippled the agency’s internal systems in December.
The FBI also announced last week that it had shut down its cyber division in response to the ransomware attack.
“In addition to the cyber-related attacks, we have identified and disrupted other cyber-based threats and threats directed against our federal agencies and their workforce, including an intrusion on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) networks,” FCC Chief Information Officer Richard M. Bray said in an emailed statement.
Bray said the FCC has deployed a variety of measures, including a network of virtual network switchboxes, to try to protect its networks.
He did not provide details on what those measures included.
The U.K. government has also been hit with ransomware attacks since mid-November, with government employees at the Ministry of Defense being among the first targets.