Unclassified White House computers are latest in the list of security breaches this year and the prime suspects for the breach are Russian hackers, who on government’s direction are working to carry out attacks on world’s most sensitive systems belonging to NATO, the Ukrainian government and U.S. defense contractors, according to reports.
Although, the attack didn’t led to fatal damages but there were still minor disruptions in many services.
“In the course of assessing recent threats, we identified activity of concern on the unclassified Executive Office of the President network,” said one White House official. “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,” according to Washington Post.
All the leading US agencies (FBI, Secret Service and National Security Agency) are employed to investigate this breach but all the information from the investigation is kept confidential. White House officials when asked regarding the breach and the suspects they were hesitant to answer and said:
“Certainly a variety of actors find our networks to be attractive targets and seek access to sensitive information,” the White House official said. “We are still assessing the activity of concern.”
According to the sources, these attacks were identified about 2 to 3 weeks back and as soon as they recognized all the staff members were asked to change their passwords, Intranet, email and VPN services were temporarily stopped. Though such an attack was always on cards as US has always kept Russians on the top-tier in terms of cyber capabilities.
“On a regular basis, there are bad actors out there who are attempting to achieve intrusions into our system,” said a second White House official. “This is a constant battle for the government and our sensitive government computer systems, so it’s always a concern for us that individuals are trying to compromise systems and get access to our networks.”
Lastly, according to some of the security reports Russian have been carrying out cyber-espionage campaigns to breach security of different systems. This has worked for the government and it is believed that same is applied in White House breach too.
Though, it’s not the first time Russian hackers have breached security of such a highly sensitive system from US, in 2008 they breached security of a military classified system. But, that helped them to develop a system that could secure their sensitive computer systems and they came up with “US cyber command” which monitors country’s all the sensitive systems.