News Highlights: Cyber Experts Scramble to Assess Scope of ‘Hack of a Decade’.
US government cyber experts are furiously working in secure offices around the world, scouring computer traffic to find out which federal systems have invaded the sweeping cyber-espionage attack that the FBI warned this week was “important and ongoing.” is. Suspected Russian hackers have broken into sensitive US government computer networks, from the Pentagon to the Department of Energy, as well as US private companies, poking around and likely reading emails and collecting data.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) of the Department of Homeland Security called the attack, which began in March or possibly sooner, “a serious risk” to the US government. Experts from both the government and US private companies compromised in the attack take entire sections of their computer networks offline or quarantine them for a deeper forensic dive to find out what was copied or taken, and whether the hackers left behind malware code .
The hackers used a little-known but widely used software program called Orion, created by cyber company SolarWinds, whose client list includes the Office of the US President, the Pentagon, NASA, NSA, all five branches of the US military, and most of the Fortune. 500 companies, including the ten largest US communications companies.
The Austin, Texas-based company then deleted its customer list from its website report the hack may have affected some 18,000 customers. The company says it “has been informed that the nature of this attack indicates that it may have been carried out by an outside nation-state” and is encourage customers to update their systems to remove the threat. The company did not immediately respond to the request for comment. CISA referred adding to the attackers as “a patient, well-resourced and focused adversary” that the Orion software vulnerability was not the only way it attacked, but refused to share further details.
Since it was first reported by Reuters Sunday, the known size of the hack is growing every day. So far, government agencies, including the Ministries of Trade and Energy, are among those confirmed to be…