US federal agencies hacked; experts suspect Russia

US government agencies hacked; Russia a possible culprit
The US Treasury Department building. Source: AP
2 Min Read

Daily US Times: Hackers broke into the networks of several US federal agencies, including the Treasury and Commerce departments in attacks exposed just days after officials warned that cyber actors linked to the government of Russia were exploiting vulnerabilities to target sensitive data.

The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI’s cybersecurity teams are investigating what experts and former officials said appeared to be a large-scale penetration of US government agencies.

Dmitri Alperovitch, a cybersecurity expert, said: “This can turn into one of the most impactful espionage campaigns on record.”

The hacks were revealed just days after FireEye, a major cybersecurity firm, acknowledged that foreign government hackers had broken into its network and stolen the company’s own hacking tools. Many experts suspect Russia is behind the attack against FireEye, a major cybersecurity player whose customers include state, local and federal governments and top global corporations.

The apparent conduit for the Treasury and Commerce Department hacks and the FireEye compromise is a hugely popular server software called SolarWinds. Alperovitch, the former chief technical officer of the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, said the software is used by hundreds of thousands of organizations and entities globally, including most Fortune 500 companies and multiple US government agencies who will now be scrambling to patch up their networks.

The cyberattacks of federal agencies were disclosed less than a week after a National Security Agency advisory warned that hackers backed by the Russian government were exploiting vulnerabilities in a system used by the federal government, “allowing the actors access to protected data.”

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