The U.S. Department of Justice said on Wednesday that hackers who broke into the software company SolarWinds had access to its e-mail system, again showing that the severity of the breach has shaken Washington.
The scale of the Justice Department’s hacking is currently unclear, but it may be important. The department has 10 million employees in a range of law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the U.S. Marshals. The department said in a statement that it potentially accessed 3% of its Office 365 mailboxes. .
The statement went on to say that the Department of Justice has no indication that any confidential systems are affected, but Leo Tadeo, the head of the network department of the FBI’s New York office, said that the transaction may still generate an intelligence monopoly.
Taddeo said: “If they have the content of 3,000 accounts, it’s still bad.” He is now the chief information security officer of data center company Cyxtera Technologies.
He said that unclassified emails still contain a lot of information about incoming notifications, pending prosecutions and international anti-corruption actions.
He said: “They don’t need to have our secrets to cause huge losses.”
Judicial spokesman Marc Raimondi declined to say how many mailboxes were stolen.
The statement said that the Office of the Chief Information Officer of the Department of Justice discovered the loophole the day before Christmas, nearly two weeks after Reuters first reported that a hacker suspected of acting in the name of Russia had penetrated the US government network.
Russia denies responsibility for the hacking operation, which is said to be one of the most complicated operations discovered in years. Cybersecurity experts say that it may take months or even longer to fully recover from these vulnerabilities.
© Thomson Reuters 2020
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