WASHINGTON: The US government said Friday (Saturday in Manila) it was revamping its background check process for federal employees and contractors with a more secure database, following a major hack disclosed last year. A new government entity will be created to conduct the checks, and the Department of Defense will provide security for the data gathered in the process, officials said. The announcement came in response to disclosures last year that hackers accessed some 20 million personnel records for US government employees and contractors, including sensitive personal data in some cases gathered from background checks. The new background check system will take over many functions from the Office of Personnel Management, which was roundly criticized for weak security following news of the breach. Several analysts have linked the hack to China, but US officials have avoided directly blaming Beijing for the breach.