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OPM Awards $133 Million Contract for Identity Theft Protection

The contract will provide 21.5 million people with identity theft protection, identity theft insurance, and credit monitoring services for three years free of charge.

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Federal officials announced Tuesday that they had awarded a $133 million contract to Identity Theft Guard Solutions to protect the 21.5 million individuals whose information was exfiltrated from the databases of the Office of Personnel Management against fraud and identity theft.

The contract will provide those affected by the 2014 breach, reportedly carried out by Chinese agents, with identity theft protection, identity theft insurance, and credit monitoring services for three years free of charge. If all the options on the contract are used, its value will balloon to just short of $330 million. The procurement of identity theft protection is the latest effort by the federal government to contend with the fallout from what acting OPM Director Beth Cobert described on a conference call with reporters as “one of the largest cyber crimes ever carried out against the U.S. government.”

“Millions of individuals, through no fault of their own, had their personal information stolen and we’re committed to standing by them, supporting them, and protecting them against further victimization,” Cobert said. “And as someone whose own information was stolen, I completely understand the concern and frustration people are feeling.”

The hack of OPM’s servers has deeply disturbed U.S. intelligence officials, who fear the information could be used by Chinese agents to identify and carry out operations against Americans with security clearances, the background investigations for which were targeted by those who infiltrated OPM.

But it’s unclear whether China would use the information gleaned from OPM, including social security numbers and other personal information, to carry out identity fraud. On the conference call, Cobert said that her agency and the FBI have so far detected no attempts to use the stolen data to perpetrate fraud.

WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images

Elias Groll is a staff writer at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @EliasGroll

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