China-linked hackers appear to have gained access to sensitive background information submitted by US intelligence and military personnel for security clearances that could potentially expose them to blackmail, the Associated Press reported on Friday. In a report citing several US officials, the news agency said the attack on the Office of Personnel Management was believed to be a separate
breach of OPM records after the government’s revelation last week that the records of millions of federal employees had been compromised. It said a form authorities believed to have been accessed, Standard Form 86, required applicants to fill out deeply personal information about mental illnesses, drug and alcohol use, past arrests and bankruptcies. The form also required the listing of contacts and relatives, potentially exposing any foreign relatives of US intelligence employees to coercion, the report said. The form also required the applicant’s Social Security number and that of their cohabitant.