Its apparent monthslong timeline gave the hackers ample time to extract information from a lot of different targets. Buchanan compared its magnitude to the 2015 Chinese hack of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, in which the records of 22 million federal employees and government job applicants were stolen.
FireEye executive Charles Carmakal said the company was aware of “dozens of incredibly high-value targets” compromised” by the hackers and was helping “a number of organizations respond to their intrusions.” He would not name any, and said he expected many more to learn in coming days that they, too, were infiltrated.
SolarWinds, of Austin, Texas, provides network-monitoring and other technical services to hundreds of thousands of organizations around the world, including most Fortune 500 companies and government agencies in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Its compromised product, called Orion, accounts for nearly half SolarWinds’ annual revenue. Its centralized monitoring looks for problems in an organization’s computer networks, which means that breaking in gave the attackers a “God-view” of those networks.
SolarWinds said in a financial filing that it sent an advisory to about 33,000 of its Orion customers that might have been affected, though it estimated a smaller number of customers — fewer than 18,000 — had actually installed the compromised product update earlier this year.