The Department refuses to say how many mailboxes have been targeted, but notes the hackers’ likely Russian origin’
The U.S. Department of Justice reported Wednesday that the hackers who hacked into the software company SolarWinds had accessed their email networks, another sign of the seriousness of the attack that shook Washington. Russians are “likely” perpetrators of the U.S. government hack, official report says Read MoreThe extent of the hack of the Justice Department was not immediately clear, but it cou cou cou cou hack. The department has more than 100,000 personnel across a number of law enforcement departments, including the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the United States. In a statement, Marshals Service confirmed that 3% of its Office 365 mailboxes were potentially accessed. The statement went on to say that there was no evidence for the Justice Department that any sensitive networks were compromised.
Entry to thousands of email inboxes belonging to the highest law enforcement agency in the world may, however, be a sitting duck for foreign hackers, as the Department of Justice plays a vital role in monitoring foreign agents, imposing punishments and preventing corruption. The department has recently become particularly proactive in cracking down on foreign hackers, filing a series of indictments in the run-up to the U.S. presidential election two months ago against Russian, Chinese and Iranian cyber spies. The statement said that the Chief Information Officer’s Office of the Justice Department discovered the breach the day before Christmas, weeks after initial reports appeared that hackers accused of working on behalf of Russia had broken into U.S. government networks. Russia denied responsibility for the hacking effort, which was identified as one of the most sophisticated operations uncovered
But on Tuesday, in the first official declaration of attribution from the Trump administration, the office of the U.S. national intelligence director said Russia was possibly behind the hack. By interfering with network surveillance tools sold by the Austin-based SolarWinds, the hackers were able to gain access to a slew of government agencies. “likely of Russian origin, is responsible for most or all of the recently discovered ongoing cyber compromises of both government and non-government networks.”is likely of Russian origin, responsible for most or all of the ongoing cyber compromises recently discovered by both government and non-government networks.
The Director of National Intelligence said that fewer than 10 government agencies were affected, but did not specify how many. Experts in cybersecurity said that a complete recovery from the violations could take months or even longer.