Russians Hack Pentagon’s E-mail

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter

HSNW News:

  • Government-backed hackers breach Joint Chiefs e-mail server

Russian government-backed hackers have managed to hack the Pentagon’s unclassified e-mail server used by the office of the Joint Chiefs. Military officials said Thursday that the sophistication of the attack shows that it has been conducted by hackers with the resources typically available only to states.

The e-mail system was taken offline as soon as the intrusion was detected.

CNN reports that the attacks on the Pentagon’s e-mail system resembles the type of attacks launched by Chinese government hackers, this particular intrusion does not is not typical of Chinese hackers.

The spear phishing attack into the e-mail of the Pentagon’s Joint Staff “exposed a new and different vulnerability” than has been seen in the past, a senior Defense official told CNN.

For nearly two weeks, about 4,000 users on the Defense Department network had no access to their e-mail, as military cybersecurity experts were busy cleaning and rebuilding the network.

The military cybersecurity experts who worked on fixing the system said that the attackers were specifically targeting the Joint Staff in the hope of gaining valuable information, even though the e-mail system was used only for unclassified exchanges.

The Pentagon stressed that no classified networks were breached. Senior DoD officials said, though, that the spear phishing attack successfully penetrated the server at several points. The required cyber protection measures and security patches were all in place, but the attackers still managed to circumvent them and find a way into the network in a manner that U.S. government cyber experts had not seen before, senior Defense officials told CNN.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter earlier this year blamed Russian hackers for infiltrating an unclassified Pentagon network. In April, U.S. officials said Russian government-backed hackers breached sensitive sections of the White House computer system. The Russian hackers managed to penetrate only the unclassified systems, but were able to glean sensitive information such as the President’s daily schedule.

Source: Homelamd Security News Wire

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