The same Chinese hackers who breached the records of at least four million government workers through the Office of Personnel Management appear to have been responsible for similar thefts of personal data at two major health care firms, Anthem and Premera, according to cybersecurity experts.
The multiple attacks, which began last year and were all discovered this spring, appear to mark a new era in cyberespionage with the theft of huge quantities of data and no clear motive for the hackers.
There is no evidence that the data collected was used for criminal purposes like faking identities to make credit card purchases. Instead, the attackers seem to be amassing huge databases of personal information about Americans. Some have high-level security clearances, which the Office of Personnel Management handles, but millions of others do not, and the reasons for their records being taken have puzzled investigators.
All of the attacks have one thing in common: The United States government has traced them to China, though it is unclear whether the attackers are working for the state