Wednesday, September 22

Pompeo accuses Russia of massive cyber attack on US

“There was a significant effort to use a third-party program to essentially embed code within US government systems,” the US secretary of state said on The Mark Levin Show.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.BRENDAN SMIALOWSKIAFP
  • Cyberattacks The US suffers the worst ‘hack’ in its history

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has stated that he is “quite clear” that Russia is behind the devastating cyber attack to several governmental agencies of the United States, which also affected targets around the world. Microsoft said Thursday that it had notified more than 40 customers affected by these malicious programs, which security experts said allowed attackers unrestricted access to their networks.

“There was a significant effort to use a third-party program to essentially embedding code within government systems from the United States, “Pompeo told The Mark Levin Show.” I think now we can say that it is quite clear that it was the Russians who participated in this activity. ”

About 80% of those affected are in the United States, said Microsoft president Brad Smith in a blog post, in which he also identified victims in Mexico, Spain, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Canada, Israel and the United Arab Emirates. United. “The number and location of the victims will continue to grow,” acknowledged Smith, joining the warnings already expressed by US officials about the seriousness of the attack. “This is not ‘espionage as usual’, even in the digital age,” valued the president of Microsoft. “Instead, evidence an act of recklessness that created serious vulnerability technology for the United States and the world. ”

John Dickson of the Denim Group security firm said several potentially vulnerable private sector companies are now struggling to tighten their security, even considering rebuilding their servers and other equipment. “Everyone is doing damage assessment now because this is huge,” Dickson said. “Is a hard blow for confidence both in government and critical infrastructure. ”

The threat comes from a long-term attack that is believed to inject malicious programs into computer networks using business management software created by Texas-based technology company SolarWinds, and would bear the stamp of an attack. national.

James Lewis, vice president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the cyberattack could end up being the worst suffered in America, above the one that affected government personnel records in 2014, and which was then suspected as a Chinese infiltration. “The scale is overwhelming. We don’t know what they have taken, that’s one of the tasks for forensics,” Lewis said. “Nor do we know what they have left. The normal practice is to leave something behind so that we can re-enter in the future.”

“Serious risk” ‘

The National Security Agency called for increased vigilance to prevent unauthorized access to key military and civilian systems. For analysts, these cyberattacks pose threats to national security due to the infiltration of important government systems, which can generate risks also for the control of key infrastructure systems like the networks of electric energy. The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) claimed that government agencies, critical infrastructure entities and the private sector were targeted by what they described as an “advanced and persistent threat actor.” CISA did not identify who is behind these malware attacks, but private security companies did point to hackers linked to the Russian government.

Mike Pompeo also suggested a Moscow implication on Monday, when he said the Russian government had made repeated attempts to breach US government networks. The president-elect, Joe Biden, he expressed for his part a “great concern” about computer infiltration, while Republican Senator Mitt Romney blamed Russia and criticized what he called “inexcusable silence” from the White House. The cyber attack was, according to Romney, as if “Russian bombers had repeatedly been flying undetected over our entire country.”

Senator Marco Rubio, also a Republican, told Fox News: “It is huge (…) It is still ongoing … It is a serious risk for the federal, state, local government, for critical infrastructure, for the private sector”.

CISA said that the computer intrusions began at least in March of this year, and its manager “demonstrated patience, operational security and complex business skills.” “This threat poses a serious risk,” this agency warned on Thursday, adding that it anticipates that “removing this threatening actor from compromised environments will be highly complex and challenging for organizations.”

The hackers allegedly installed their malware in programs used by the Treasury and Commerce Departments, which allowed them to see internal email traffic. According to press reports, the Department of Energy, which manages the government’s nuclear arsenal, was also affected. SolarWinds admitted that some 18,000 customers, including government agencies and large companies, downloaded compromised software updates, allowing hackers to spy on their emails. After the cyber attack was detected, CISA ordered federal agencies to shut down the attacked software.

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