The Office of Personnel Management had originally said that only 1.1 million fingerprint records had been stolen.
The disclosure, according to Reuters, means that 21.5 million American citizens had their social security details stolen. Reuters believes that the Chinese government is behind the hack.
Fingerprints of individuals stolen include people that work at the Pentagon, Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The US government is downplaying the theft and claiming it is no big deal.
Biometrics is big business. It’s still not entirely clear why the US government had a system so vulnerable that the thieves barely needed a key to just walk in and steal the data.
China has consistently denied it countenances hacking. But the received wisdom is that all governments sanction and perform hacks, almost as a matter of routine.
IT systems are inherently insecure.