The Donald Trump Administration reported Sunday that foreign hackers accessed the systems of various federal agencies. The hackers they were able to hack into Treasury, Commerce and Homeland Security emails. Government officials have assured that the FBI and cybersecurity officers at the Department of Homeland Security are working to identify the extent of the hack, for which they almost certainly blame a Russian intelligence agency, according to three sources familiar with the investigation. cited by Reuters.
The spokesman for the National Security Council, John Ullyot, reported in a statement that the Government is “taking all necessary measures to identify and remedy any possible problem related to this situation.” Authorities said Sunday that in addition to the attacks on the Treasury and the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, they are investigating whether the hackers used a similar tool to gain access to other government agencies. The Department of Homeland Security reported Monday that its internal communications were also affected during the attack.
The government has not revealed too many details. The Commerce Department acknowledged that one of its agencies had been attacked, without naming it. Trump fired Christopher Krebs, the agency’s director, last month after he denied the unfounded allegations of electoral fraud in the November 3 elections.
If confirmed that the hacking came from Russia, the hack it would be the most sophisticated in US government data by Moscow since 2014 and 2015, when Kremlin intelligence agencies accessed the unclassified email systems of the White House and the State Department. Then-President Barack Obama decided not to award the operation to the Russians at first, a move that caused rejection from part of his administration.
Two of the officials involved in the investigation told the Reuters news agency that the operation is related to the cyberattack recently targeted by FireEye, a major US cybersecurity firm. The Silicon Valley company reported last week that the hackers almost certainly worked for a Russian agency.
Last October, six members of the Russian military espionage agency were accused by the US Department of Justice of a series of cyberattacks perpetrated in different countries, including an assault on Ukraine’s electricity grid, another on the French presidential elections in 2017 and one to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pieonchang (South Korea). According to Assistant Attorney General for Homeland Security John Demers, “no country has used its computing capabilities as maliciously or irresponsibly as Russia, deliberately inflicting unprecedented damage to achieve paltry tactical advantages, yet satisfying revenge.”
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