Last year, hackers believed to have Chinese government connections managed to breach the database of the federalOffice of Personnel Management (the agency that oversees security clearances for government employees and contractors), and stole sensitive and often blackmail-worthy information about 21.5 million people, mainly security clearance holders but also friends or family members thereof. The stolen information included Social Security numbers and what the OPM called “findings from interviews” — in other words, all the sensitive and potentially embarrassing personal information uncovered in the course of an intensive national-security background check. Last week, the Defense Department announced that it had awarded a $133 million contract to a company called ID Experts, to provide credit-monitoring services to the 21.5 million victims of the OPM hack. At first glance that looks like a bargain, at least by federal-budget standards: $133 million divided by 21.5 million clients comes out to just under $6.19 per OPM hacking victim. Granted, the Washington Post did report that, according to officials, the $133 million award is only the first piece of a larger government-wide contract expected to cost a total of $500 million over the next five years. Even so, 500 divided by 21.5 still averages out to […]
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