A participate at the Chaos Computer Club's event in late 2013

Data theft is normally pretty bad all on its own, but a recent breach at US Investigations Services (a background check company) may have created some extra-strong headaches for the US government. Reuters understands that the intrusion exposed personal information of 25,000-plus Department of Homeland Security workers, including "some undercover investigators." There's no certainty that the attackers stole those agents' information, but there's a real chance that their identities are out in the wild -- a big problem if suspects can double-check identities and avoid getting caught. The concern is exacerbated by the nature of the attack, which USIS believes might have been "state-sponsored."

The potential for future damage is limited. Homeland Security has frozen its work with USIS for the next while, and the FBI is already investigating what went wrong. Until it's clear just what happened and who's at risk, though, there are going to be a lot of nervous officials -- they won't necessarily know which new hires they can trust.

[Image credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images]

You can steal data from a computer by touching it