Economy

GCHQ looking into whether Russian hackers stole United Kingdom government secrets

GCHQ looking into whether Russian hackers stole United Kingdom government secrets”

A White House meeting last December 12 invited the NSC to deal with the matter, to which it said that they are "taking the necessary steps" to address the problems.

The U.S. government is still reeling after the detection of a massive foreign intrusion into federal computer systems at agencies including - at a minimum - the Department of Homeland Security, the Treasury, and the Commerce Department; As one employee at the DHS's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the primary cybersecurity agency of the federal government, told Politico, many government agencies, "don't know how on fire they are yet". "The very term advanced persistent threat was coined to describe an attack just like this".

According to a report by the Washington Post, the hackers were linked to the Russian government.

"Treat all hosts monitored by the SolarWinds Orion monitoring software as compromised by threat actors and assume that further persistence mechanisms have been deployed", CISA advised.

The Department of Homeland Security's cybersecurity arm warned of an "unacceptable risk" to the executive branch from a feared large-scale penetration of USA government agencies that could date back to mid-year or earlier.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied that Russian Federation was involved.

During that briefing, CISA officials said at least one federal agency had discovered it was affected by the campaign in the day since the directive was issued, according to a congressional aide who participated in the briefing.

The extent of the breach is still unclear - beyond that malware may have been spreading on affected systems for months.

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"We believe that this vulnerability is the result of a highly-sophisticated, targeted and manual supply chain attack by a nation state".

The hackers broke in by tampering with the software updates from SolarWinds, a Texas-based IT company that serves numerous USA government agencies including the Pentagon and the NSA, according to Reuters, which first reported the breach. A Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment to FOX Business.

Federal agencies have always been attractive targets for foreign hackers looking to gain insight into American government personnel and policymaking.

Specifically, the hack was carried out over the "2019.4 through 2020.2.1 HF1" version of the SolarWinds Orion product, which can help companies manage their IT products across a corporate or government network.

Many U.S. national security agencies made major efforts to prevent Russian Federation from interfering in this year's election.

According to Reuters, SolarWinds claims it has over 300,000 customers worldwide, but only 33,000 of them have been using Orion software. Cybersecurity "has not been a presidential priority" during the Trump administration and the outgoing president has been unable or unwilling to hold Russian Federation to account for aggressive action in cyberspace, said Chris Painter, who coordinated cyberpolicy in the State Department during the Obama administration.

US officials speaking to Reuters anonymously also indicated that cyberattack may be much bigger than now known. The cybersecurity firm said Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020 it was hacked by what it believes was a national government.

An advisory issued by Microsoft, which assisted FireEye in the hack response, said it had "delivered more than 13,000 notifications to customers attacked by nation states over the past two years and observed a rapid increase in (their) sophistication and operational security capabilities". Politico reported that the attackers may also compromised Microsoft email servers used by institutions that downloaded the infected updates in order to steal authentication tokens that gave them broader access. In that case, the hackers inserted a self-propagating worm into a tax preparation software company's updates to infect its customers.



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