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OPM: Five times as many fingerprints taken in hack than first thought

Hackers who breached the systems of the federal Office of Personnel Management made off with fingerprint records of 5.6 million people — more than five times the initial estimate — officials said Wednesday.

The fallout from hack, already among the worst to hit the United States, has continued to grow as computer security investigators have mined their systems to determine what went wrong.

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The latest estimate of the damage comes after OPM and Defense Department staff identified new records that had not been analyzed, OPM spokesman Samuel Schumach said. While the government does not believe the fingerprint data is that useful now, officials say changes in technology could allow it to be misused.

In all the private data of some 21.5 million people was compromised in the breach, which targeted security clearance records maintained by the OPM.

The government has not publicly assigned responsibility for the attack, but the Chinese government has emerged as the leading suspect. The records could be used to build a database of American intelligence workers and other government employees.

OPM and the Defense Department are working on notifying the people affected and the victims will be provided credit monitoring services.

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