Cyberattacks target US government agencies – is Russia involved?

Washington D.C. - Hackers have been targeting the US Treasury and Commerce departments and other government agencies, according to media reports on Sunday.

A top cybersecurity firm said the attacks had the hallmark of a state-sponsored operation (stock image).
A top cybersecurity firm said the attacks had the hallmark of a state-sponsored operation (stock image).  © 123rf/glebstock

National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot told DPA "the US government is aware of these reports and we are taking all necessary steps to identify and address potential issues related to this situation."

The Department of Commerce confirmed to CNN that hackers had overcome protective measures in one of its offices.

The Washington Post reported hackers with ties to Russian intelligence agency SVR were responsible for the attacks on the Treasury and Commerce departments as well as other US agencies.

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It was unclear what information had been captured, according to the report, which also said the FBI had been brought in to investigate.

The cyberattacks have reportedly been going on for months.

Cybersecurity firm FireEye, which US authorities often work with in cyberattack cases, said the hackers were the same group who had attacked it.

FireEye said last Tuesday that a cyberattack had stolen attack software that the company usually uses to test its customers' defense systems.

It was still unclear whether these tools would be used for hacking attacks, it said, adding that the attackers would have been particularly interested in information about the company's government customers.

FireEye said its initial analysis pointed to a state-sponsored attack, due to the the technical skills and discipline of the attackers.

Cover photo: 123rf/glebstock

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