Breach could affect thousands of government employees

KeyPoint Government Solutions, a third-party contractor that conducts background checks on government employees, has recently reported a serious security breach of its computer systems. The company took over the government contract after its competitor, USIS, suffered a data breach earlier this year.

"As far as impact on vetting employees and contractors getting clearances, the investigation into [the KeyPoint] breach may further slow down the clearance process which has already been stalled due to the USIS breach," said security-clearance professional Evan Lesser to GovInfoSecurity.

The United States Justice Department is currently suing USIS for submitting incomplete background checks to the government, and USIS has undergone intense criticism within the past month for failing to mount adequate security systems. It's not clear at the moment what effect these proceedings will have on the federal contract with KeyPoint.

"Out of an abundance of caution, OPM plans to notify 48,439 individuals whose PII may have been exposed in this incident," said Nathaly Arriola, deputy director of the OPM Office of Communications, in a public statement, "and it will offer them credit monitoring at no cost." 

Although the extent of the breach is currently unknown, the incident could have serious implications due to the extremely sensitive and private nature of information uncovered in the process of vetting a potential federal employee.

It seems like every day a new security breach is discovered that compromises the personal data of thousands of Americans. It's crucial for organizations to upgrade their security systems, so individuals can feel safer in 2015. Retailers, especially, should be sure to keep their credit card processing software up-to-date, since they have direct access to customers' payment information.

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