The US Department of Justice has said its email systems were obtained by the hackers who broke into software company SolarWinds, another sign of the gravity of the breach which has shaken Washington.
The scale of the hack at the Department of Justice wasn’t immediately clear but it might be significant. The department, which includes more than 100,000 workers throughout a string of law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the US Marshals Service, said in an announcement that 3% of its own Office 365 mailboxes were potentially accessed.
The statement went on to say the Justice Department had no sign any classified systems were affected but Leo Taddeo, who formerly directed the cyber division of the FBI’s New York office, said the haul would yield an intelligence bonanza.
He said unclassified mails still carried a plethora of information about incoming advice, pending indictments and global anti-corruption operations, among other matters.
“They don’t need to have our classified secrets in order to do great damage,” he said.
Justice spokesman Marc Raimondi declined to say how many mailboxes were breached.
The statement said the Justice Department’s Office of the Chief Information Officer discovered the violation on the afternoon before Christmas – almost two weeks after our news agency partners Reuters first reported hackers suspected of acting on Russia’s behalf had broken to US government networks.
Russia has denied responsibility for the hacking effort, which has been described as one of the very sophisticated operations uncovered in years. Cybersecurity experts have said a full recovery from the breaches could take weeks – or even longer.
The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Raphael Satter with additional reporting by David Shepardson. Editing by Chris Reese, Mark Heinrich and Lisa Shumaker.
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