Russian hackers broke into federal agencies: US intelligence

Vastavam web: There is concern within the US intelligence community that the hackers who targeted Treasury and the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration used a similar tool to break into other government agencies, according to four people briefed on the matter. The people did not say which other agencies, but SolarWinds, a company based in Austin, Texas, said on Sunday that software updates it released in March and June of this year may have been surreptitiously tampered with in a “highly-sophisticated, targeted and manual supply chain attack by a nation state”.

SolarWinds stopped short of saying the hack at Treasury occurred via them, but two of the people familiar with the investigation said the company was believed to be the channel by which the hackers got in. SolarWinds says on its website that its customers include most of America’s Fortune 500 companies, all top 10 US telecommunications providers, all five branches of the US military, the State Department, the National Security Agency, and the Office of President of the United States.

Two of the people said that the breaches were connected to a broad campaign that also involved the recently disclosed hack on FireEye, a major US cybersecurity company with government and commercial contracts. “The United States government is aware of these reports and we are taking all necessary steps to identify and remedy any possible issues related to this situation,” said National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot.

The hack is so serious it led to a National Security Council meeting at the White House on Saturday, said one of the people familiar with the matter. The Commerce Department confirmed there was a breach at one of its agencies in a statement. “We have asked the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the FBI to investigate, and we cannot comment further at this time.”