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Assessing the damage from breach of federal employee data linked to Chinese hacking




White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest answers questions on the massive cyber-attack on the personal data of government employees June 5, 2015 during the daily briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC. The US government on Thursday admitted hackers accessed the personal data of at least four million current and former federal employees, in a vast cyber-attack suspected to have originated in China.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest answers questions on the massive cyber-attack on the personal data of government employees June 5, 2015 during the daily briefing in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC. The US government on Thursday admitted hackers accessed the personal data of at least four million current and former federal employees, in a vast cyber-attack suspected to have originated in China.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

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4 million federal employees’ data may have been compromised after a cybersecurity breach at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, and intelligence officials say the hack leads back to the Chinese.

This isn’t the first time the OPM has been hacked. In July of last year, Department of Homeland Security officials reported a possible breach on the OPM’s network that was traced back to China. It was unclear at the time whether that also meant the Chinese government was involved.

The Chineses have vehemently denied any part in the breach, calling the U.S.’s allegations “baseless” in an editorial that ran Friday in the Chinese state-run news agency.

If hackers can breach government networks and access employee data, how serious is the threat to other Americans’ information? How and why are these hacks happening? If China is involved, what are they hoping to do with the data they took? How are officials in Washington, D.C. responding to the breach?

Guests:

Tal Kopan, cybersecurity reporter for POLITICO. She tweets @TalKopan

Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder and chief technology officer of the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike. Previously, he was a Vice President of Threat Research at the security software company McAfee.