A letter shows up in your mailbox from the U.S. government with notification that your personal information has been compromised after a huge hacking incident by a foreign government believed to be China. You’re confused because you’ve never been employed by the federal government. But you are included because you know someone who was a government employee and, in the process of acquiring a security clearance, they provided the names of family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers who now must look over their shoulders and wonder if they, too, will become victims. That would be you.
Think it couldn’t happen? It already has. As former State Department employee Matthew Palmer was quoted as saying in USA Today, “Who is in danger? I listed friends on those forms and my family members. … Are some hackers going to start going after them?”