State Department and White House are victims of cyber attack
The U.S. State Department's email systems were hacked in recent weeks at the same time that the White House systems were breached.
The State Department and White House systems hacked
A senior U.S. official speaking on the condition of anonymity said that both the State Department and White House's systems were victim to cyber attacks in the past few weeks. While no classified systems were compromised, the State Department took preventative measures and shutdown systems in order to better focus on online security, reported Reuters.
"The department recently detected activity of concern in portions of its unclassified email system … [and is] implementing improvements to the security of its main unclassified network during a scheduled outage of some Internet-linked systems," the official said, according to the news source.
The hack and resulting maintenance work has affected employee access to websites and unclassified email traffic. The official indicated, however, that systems should be back up soon. According to PCMagazine, the anonymous official also mentioned that the State Department breach was linked to the event reported by the White House's Executive Office of the President.
The news source added that while the State Department's network was infiltrated in October, the department did not disconnect affected systems until recently. As per federal technology information website nextgov.com, abnormal activity was witnessed in email systems in October. Recent months have seen breaches at the U.S. Postal Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Office of Personnel Management and the White House.
A wave of government-targeted cyber attacks
The USPS revealed that the information of over 800,000 employees may have been compromised and data on customers who contacted its call center during the first eight months of the year may have been accessed illegally. Also, at NOAA, four of the agency's websites were affected by the breach. A spokesman for the Pentagon said on Monday that the military systems were not affected in the wave of security breaches.
The State Department has agreed to inform lawmakers about the details of the hack, according to U.S. Representative and senior democrat on the house government reform committee, Elijah Cummings. In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Cummings asked the State to provide additional information to allow congress to examine cyber security laws and devise additional ways to protect government and consumer information.
Nextgov suggested that the same hackers could be responsible for both the State Department and White House attacks, with mention of groups backed by states like Russia or China.