Sunday, December 5

SolarWinds: Russian Hackers Hacked E-Mail Accounts at US Attorney’s Offices | To hack


The Russian hackers behind SolarWinds ‘massive cyber espionage campaign broke into the email accounts of some of the most prominent US federal prosecutors’ offices last year, the Justice Department said.

The department said that 80% of Microsoft email accounts used by employees at the four US law offices in New York were breached. In all, the Justice Department said 27 U.S. law offices had at least one email account of a compromised employee.

The Justice Department said Friday that it believes the accounts were compromised from May 7 to December 27 of last year. That time period is notable because the SolarWinds attack, named for the company that made the affected product and which infiltrated dozens of companies and think tanks, as well as at least nine government agencies, was discovered and publicized in mid-December.

In April, the Biden administration announced sanctions, including the expulsion of diplomats, in response to SolarWinds and Russia’s interference in the 2020 US elections. Russia has denied wrongdoing.

Jennifer Rodgers, a professor at Columbia Law School, said that when she was a federal prosecutor in New York, emails from the office frequently contained confidential information, including discussions of case strategies and names of confidential informants.

“I don’t recall someone bringing me a document instead of emailing it to me for security reasons,” he said, noting exceptions for classified materials.

The Administrative Office of the US Courts confirmed in January that it was also raped, giving SolarWinds hackers another point of entry to steal sensitive information such as trade secrets, spy targets, whistleblower reports and warrants. of arrest.

The list of affected district attorneys included high-profile offices in Los Angeles, Miami, Washington and the Eastern District of Virginia. The southern and eastern boroughs of New York, where large numbers of employees were affected, handle some of the largest prosecutions in the country.

“New York is the financial center of the world and those districts are particularly known for investigating and prosecuting white collar crimes and other cases, including investigating people close to” Donald Trump, said Bruce Green, a professor at Fordham Law School. and a former southern district attorney.

The Justice Department said all victims had been notified and was working to mitigate “operational, security and privacy risks.” The department said in January it had no indication that any classified system was affected.

The Justice Department did not provide details on what kind of information was collected and what impact such an attack may have on ongoing cases. Members of Congress have expressed frustration with the Biden administration for not sharing more information about the impact of the SolarWinds campaign.

The SolarWinds hackers also gained access to email accounts belonging to then-Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf and members of the cybersecurity staff, whose jobs included hunting threats from foreign countries.


www.theguardian.com

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