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U.S. Intelligence Agencies Go Back to Old-Fashioned Paper After Massive Hacks

America's spies and HR offices are going back to pen and paper after last month's two big data breaches.

America's spies and HR offices are going old-school to check people for security clearances after last month's two big data breaches — they're using pen and paper.

James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, and the Office of Personnel Management announced Thursday night that applicants will be filling out forms by hand instead of submitting their data online, with hard copies being sent to the relevant agencies for review.

The move comes after OPM revealed last month that it had discovered a cyberattack that compromised data for at least 4.2 million current and former federal employees. A week later, it said there had been a second attack specifically targeting security clearances.

Related: OPM Will Hire Cybersecurity Adviser

OPM suspended the online system new federal employees and contractors use to submit forms for background checks Monday, saying the system will be offline for four to six weeks for "security enhancements." But the government still needs to hire people, and some of those hires are for jobs that require security clearances.

So for the next few weeks, applicants had better hope their handwriting is legible.