Feds shut down security clearance background check database over cyber vulnerability

Associated Press

The federal personnel agency whose records were plundered by hackers linked to China says it has temporarily shut down a massive database used to update and store background investigation records. The agency says a newly discovered flaw left the system vulnerable to hackers.

Agency spokesman Samuel Schumach said in a statement on Monday that there is no evidence that the vulnerability has been exploited. He said the Office of Personnel Management took the step protectively. He said the system may be shut down four to six weeks.

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The agency says records for up to 18 million current and former federal employees and contractors were stolen last year by suspected Chinese hackers. Among the documents taken were detailed background investigations of intelligence agency employees.