— John Rivers (@JohnRiversToo) June 17, 2015
The technical details are a little difficult here so let’s put it this way – idiotic and utterly incompetent government officials outsourced IT management of highly sensitive information to companies that had some workers in China, and gave them complete and total access to that database.
From Ars Technica:
Some of the contractors that have helped OPM [Office of Personnel Management] with managing internal data have had security issues of their own—including potentially giving foreign governments direct access to data long before the recent reported breaches. A consultant who did some work with a company contracted by OPM to manage personnel records for a number of agencies told Ars that he found the Unix systems administrator for the project “was in Argentina and his co-worker was physically located in the [People’s Republic of China]. Both had direct access to every row of data in every database: they were root. Another team that worked with these databases had at its head two team members with PRC passports. I know that because I challenged them personally and revoked their privileges. From my perspective, OPM compromised this information more than three years ago and my take on the current breach is ‘so what’s new?’”
More from Ars Technica here.