The Obama Administration has revealed that hackers recently breached an unclassified computer network used by the President’s senior staff.
What happened? First reported by the New York Times, officials said the cyberattack “did not appear to be aimed at destruction of either data or hardware, or to take over other systems at the White House. That strongly suggests that the hackers’ intention was either to probe and map the unclassified White House system, find entry points where they connect to other system or conduct fairly standard espionage.”
What information was breached? According to the Washington Post, “The breach was discovered two to three weeks ago… Some staffers were asked to change their passwords. Intranet or VPN access was shut off for awhile, but the email system, apart from some minor delays, was never down.”
Who’s behind it? Sources say the attack was consistent with that of a state-sponsored effort. The Post notes that a number of security firms have identified cyber-espionage campaigns by Russian hackers thought to be working for the government. Targets have included NATO, the Ukrainian government and U.S. defense contractors.
What they’re saying: “In the course of assessing recent threats, we identified activity of concern on the unclassified Executive Office of the President network. We took immediate measures to evaluate and mitigate the activity… Unfortunately, some of that resulted in the disruption of regular services to users. But people were on it and are dealing with it… Our computers and systems have not been damaged, though some elements of the unclassified network have been affected. The temporary outages and loss of connectivity for our users is solely the result of measures we have taken to defend our networks.”
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