A massive cyber attack was directed against the SolarWinds company. A gateway that allowed hackers to break into the systems of many American companies and government agencies. The Wall Street Journal tells us today that the US Department of Justice is also on the list of victims. The hackers reportedly accessed ministerial officials’ emails.
Department of Justice hit in SolarWinds attack
According to a report on this cyber attack, only 3% of the U.S. Department of Justice’s email accounts were affected. At the moment, according to a spokesman for the ministry, “there seems to be nothing to suggest that the hackers could access classified information”.
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In mid-December, The Guardian speculated that state secrets were likely stolen during this cyberattack, without disclosing whether they could be nuclear secrets, data on the Covid-19 vaccine, or on next-generation weapons. It’s too early to tell.
The Cabinet of the Ministry of Justice learned of the error in the security systems on Christmas Eve. It seems that the hackers were able to break into the ministry’s systems thanks to a bug in Microsoft 365. This is not surprising as we now know that Microsoft was among the victims of the cyber attack that targeted SolarWinds.
Russia is in the sights of the FBI and CISA
The Justice Department’s press release states: “As part of the ongoing technical analysis, the Justice Department has determined that this intrusion is a major incident under the Justice Department’s Federal Security Modernization Act” information. We take the necessary steps. The Department will notify relevant federal agencies, Congress, and the public as appropriate. “
On January 5, 2021, the US government officially accused Russia of being behind the cyber attack. What used to be rumors are now real allegations. The FBI, NSA, CISA and ODNI have joined forces “on behalf of President Trump” to shed light on this matter. This is the first time the Trump administration claims Putin’s administration could be behind this cyberattack.
In their statement, the four agencies say: “Our work shows that an actor who is likely of Russian origin is responsible for most or all of the recently discovered and ongoing cyber compromises in government and non-government networks. We believe this is a cyberattack aimed at gathering classified information. “