The US government asserted that the recent hacking campaign against federal agencies is ongoing and significant and has affected their networks.
Informed sources revealed this week that hackers believed to be working for Russia had spied on the internal emails of the US Treasury and Commerce Department, and that there were fears that the infiltration discovered so far was only the tip of an iceberg.
“The situation is evolving, and work is underway to find out the full scale of the attacks,” said a joint statement by the FBI, the Cyber Security Agency and National Intelligence.
The statement emphasized that the FBI is investigating and gathering intelligence information to identify, monitor and put an end to the attacks.
For its part, Bloomberg Network revealed that the White House is holding urgent daily meetings with the participation of officials from multiple agencies, to address the infiltration of US information systems.
The network quoted a senior official as saying that officials of the information services provide data to the investigators, but it is still not clear how long the investigation process will take.
Politico, citing sources in Congress and at cybersecurity company FireEye, reported that the cyber-hack that US officials linked to Russian intelligence was discovered by chance.
The site stated that an investigation conducted by the “Fire Eye” company, against the background of its network being hacked, was the reason behind the discovery of the piracy that was exposed to about 12 US federal agencies.
He explained that the FireEye investigation revealed a serious flaw in a program developed by SolarWinds and used by federal agencies and major US companies.
The site stated that it is not known exactly how long it took the company, “Fire Eye” to discover its vulnerability to penetration, stressing that the vulnerability gave the hackers months of access to the internal e-mail accounts of federal agencies, including the Ministries of Treasury, Commerce and Homeland Security.
US National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien cut short a visit to Europe to return to Washington, to coordinate a response to the cyber breach that targeted several institutions in the United States this week.
According to the New York Times, some sections of the US Department of Defense were among the agencies that hackers managed to penetrate.
The attack also included the State Department, the National Institutes of Health, the Ministries of Treasury, Trade, Homeland Security, and private companies.
And American security sources said – earlier – that groups of Russian pirates, affiliated with the Russian security services, were responsible for a large-scale infiltration operation against American targets.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo emphasized that Russia’s use of cyber attacks against the United States is a constant and frequent matter. He said in a radio interview that Russia had tried to interfere in elections in 2008, 2012 and 2016.
The senior Democrat in the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, held Russia responsible for the recent cyber attacks on a number of US institutions.
However, the spokesman for the Russian (Kremlin) presidency, Dmitry Peskov, denied the US accusations that his country was behind the recent cyber attacks.
Peskov said the Americans continue to press charges against the Russians for all actions targeting them.