N. TX woman among millions impacted by cyber-attack on U.S. gov't

The hacking attack that exposed personal information of current and former federal employees could be far more extensive than first revealed.

Outside experts are pointing to the breach as a blistering indictment of the U.S. government's ability to secure its own data.

"When I opened the letter and read it, I thought, ‘Well maybe everyone's getting this letter,' and I spoke to my husband and he didn't get the letter, and I thought, ‘We have a problem,'" said Peggy Schaffer.

The letter that Schaffer is referring to is the one she got in her mail Thursday from Homeland Security, informing her  "...personal information processed by...a private contractor...used by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to conduct pre-employment credit checks, may have been compromised."

"I applied with the TSA for a job," said Schaffer.

That was in 2009 as part of an extensive application process about Schaffer and everyone related to her.

"It's about a 50-page application process," said Schaffer. "They want to know everything about you, so they have more than the regular amount of information that a company would usually require."

"And all of that is at risk now," said FOX 4's Shaun Rabb.

"Yes, and not just for me but for my family," said Schaffer.

The government said Thursday that the number of people impacted may be as many as 4.5 million.

"That's not the real number," said attorney Peter Vogel. "The real number is much larger than that/04

Vogel says cyber intrusions happen daily, and typically, it's eight months before the intrusion is discovered.

Federal agencies report a 15 percent increase in cyber security incidents last year -- not successful, but trying.

There were 70,000 times that hackers tried to get inside federal agencies in 2014.

"There are organized criminal groups that take this data and then resell it to other criminals, so what could happen is the use of this information could show up elsewhere," said Vogel.

Schaffer clearly understands the message.

"If something as large as our government is subject to something like this, none of us are safe," she said.

Up Next:

  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories You May Be Interested In - includes advertiser stories