While we recently learned that the SolarWinds hack was arguably more serious than expected, four US government agencies have just issued a statement directly accusing Russia for the first time.
On December 12th, several American media revealed that malware had infected the Orion management software of the Texan company SolarWinds, which was used by a large number of American companies and agencies. For more than six months, hackers had access to sensitive data from SolarWinds customers. Among them are 10 government agencies in particular, such as the Department of Commerce, the Treasury or even the Homeland Security Service, while companies such as Microsoft have also been victims of the hack.
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The FBI, NSA, CISA and ODNI have joined forces “on behalf of President Trump” to clarify this matter. In their press release, the four agencies say:
“This work shows that an Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) actor, likely of Russian origin, is responsible for most or all of the recently discovered and ongoing cyber compromises in government and non-government networks. At this point we believe it was and still is an information gathering effort. We are taking all necessary steps to understand the full scope of this campaign and respond to it accordingly. “
They add that “of the 18,000 public and private sector customers affected by SolarWinds’ Orion product, a much smaller number have been compromised by monitoring activity on their systems.” While Russia was mentioned by experts as soon as the cyberattack was uncovered, it will be the first time the Trump administration has named it a culprit. In addition, the president even suggested in a tweet that the person responsible was indeed China and that the cyberattack may have affected the voting machines during the elections …
The cyber hack is far bigger in the fake news media than it is in reality. I have been fully informed and everything is well under control. Russia, Russia, Russia is the primary chant if something happens because Lamestream is petrified of … for mostly financial reasons.
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2020
With their press release, the agencies are reacting to American public opinion and silencing the rumors falsely propagated by the president. Some also believed the government’s silence was based on the fact that Russian hackers wanted Donald Trump to be elected in 2016.
Russia is initially denying the allegations directly and has not yet responded to the press release.