OPM Data Breach Update
New Update on OPM Data Breach Protections
Recently, the Association participated in a teleconference with OPM officials who provided an update on data breaches involving federal employee information. At the outset, OPM officials shared that in addition to the initial data breach which affected about 4 million past and current federal employees that was announced back in June, that a second data breach affecting 21.5 million people was subsequently identified by OPM.
The OPM officials explained that this data breach not only exposed data of current and former federal employees, but also applicants for federal employment, contractors, and family members. However, OPM officials quickly noted that where family members of federal applicants, federal employees or contractors were affected, this generally affected the family members of those who had completed Standard Form (SF) 86 and the variants of that form.
OPM officials explained that the SF 86 forms are for those applying for positions or undergoing background checks for higher security positions. DoDEA employees who have been directed by management to complete background checks through OPM's e-QIP system are supposed to use SF 85. However, the Association strongly cautions that DoDEA educators should not assume that they and their family members are not affected by the subsequently discovered second data breach.
OPM stated that of the 21.5 million people that it has identified as having been affected by the breach, about 3.6 million are current and past federal employees. However, according to OPM, some 1.8 million are spouses of people who applied for federal employment using SF 86 or similar forms that required disclosing the spouse's Social Security numbers. Subsequent to the teleconference with OPM, some articles in the media have stated that about 6.3 million children have been affected, as parents who completed the SF 86 or similar forms included their data.
After providing details regarding the vast size of the second breach, OPM officials informed those participating in the call that OPM was working with DoD, through NAVSEA, to conduct a solicitation for bidders on a contract that would provide those affected by the second breach with a number of protections. OPM stated that this solicitation was for a contract that would provide affected people with three years of coverage that would include measures such as ID theft and credit monitoring, ID restoration and ID theft insurance.
OPM officials stated while the solicitation was sent out last week, OPM anticipated that the contract would be awarded in mid-to-late August. OPM stated that once the contract was awarded, the contractor would begin contacting these 21.5 million individuals and offering the contracted services.
Obviously, this second data breach is many magnitudes greater in impact and numbers than the initial data breach. The Association will remain vigilant in obtaining the latest information on events and what is being done for those affected by the breaches.
In the meantime, the Association asks DoDEA educators in the Association's bargaining unit to continue to visit the Association's website at http://www.feaonline.org/, as well as regularly check for emails and messages from the Association so that you get the latest information as we receive it.
Below is a message that was sent out by the Association on August 4 regarding the restart of the e-QIP system. The e-QIP system had been temporarily shut down by OPM to install security upgrades, but the system is now once again fully functional. If you have not already read the Association's earlier message below already, we strongly encourage you to read it now.
e-QIP System Back Online
posted August 4, 2015
At press time for the latest issue of the FEA Journal, which is currently in the process of being mailed to members, the Association stated that the EQIP system, which is the online system used by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to collect background check applications, was temporarily shut down for enhancement.
The Association has just been informed in a conference call with OPM that, after approximately four weeks in which enhanced security measures were installed and tested, that OPM has brought EQIP back online. OPM did state that the EQIP restart has been a phased process, but the system is now operational and employees should submit their background check applications to EQIP.
In the event that any DoDEA educator encounters any technical difficulties in accessing the EQIP site or has any issues submitting the required documentation, DoDEA educators should contact DoDEA, and DoDEA should work the issue with OPM.
The EQIP system was in fact shut down for approximately four weeks during the summer. OPM has brought EQIP back online and it is now operational. In short, now that the installation and testing of the enhanced security measures for EQIP is now complete and EQIP is back online, if any DoDEA educator was/is contacted by management and told that they must submit their background check application to EQIP, educators should comply with this request as soon as possible.
Just to clarify on the last sentence in the last paragraph above from the August 4th update, once you return to start the new school year (some DDESS schools have already opened, while DoDDS schools are several days away), if management directs you to complete the background check forms or directed you to do so before the end of the last school year, please note that once the new school year starts, the time to complete the process starts again. Please be sure that if management tells you to complete these forms, that you do so in a timely manner.