Russian hackers breached several US government agencies.
Image Credit: AP/ Ben Margot.
The same hacking group that was responsible for the hacking of Fireeye and COVID-19 vaccine research during the summer, is now believed to have breached the US treasury and commerce departments and other government agencies. The hack is considered to be a sophisticated one.
The group behind the hack is known as APT29 or Cozybear, and is believed to be supported by Russia. According to Reuters, the Russian hacking group did not hack only the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), but also other government agencies, which so far have not been revealed yet. The hackers gained access to the agencies through NTIA Microsoft Office software. The hackers tricked the software’s authentication controls and than monitored NTIA’s staff emails for several months.
The hack was considered as very serious, so much so that a National Security Meeting was held at White House last Saturday. National Security Meeting spokesman John Ullyot said,
The United States government is aware of these reports and we are taking all necessary steps to identify and remedy any possible issues related to this situation.National Security Meeting spokesman John Ullyot
The commerce department confirmed the hack and in a statement said,
We have asked the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the FBI to investigate, and we cannot comment further at this time.Commerce Department
An investigation is ongoing to determine how the stolen information could be used against the US. Investigations of massive cyber espionage campaigns like this usually take years, and will therefore pose a huge challenge on President-elect Joe Biden.