Courtesy of the Atlanta Journal Constitution
The FBI is reportedly investigating a major cybersecurity breach of a government agency, which has potentially compromised the personal data of 4 million current and former government employees.
The breach affected the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which detected the intrusion in April. In a statement released Thursday, the department said it has since adopted tougher data security measures.
Cybersecurity breaches are notoriously difficult to track, but several U.S. officials have already begun pointing the finger at China. The country was implicated in cyberwarfare efforts against U.S. companies last year.
The Office of Personnel Management says it will offer credit monitoring and identity theft detection services to those who are potentially affected.
Credit freeze is the best answer
As always when these things happen, the best rememdy is a full credit freeze. Often the result of criminals having a lot of your personal info is that they’ll try to open new lines of credit in your name and charge them up.
A credit freeze allow you to seal your credit reports and use a personal identification number (PIN) that only you know and can use to temporarily ‘thaw’ your credit so that legitimate applications for credit and services can be processed. That added layer of security means that thieves can’t establish new credit in your name even if they are able to obtain your ID.
Freezing your credit files has no impact whatsoever on your existing lines of credit, such as credit cards. You can continue to use them as you regularly would even when your credit is frozen.