US State Department targeted by hackers

Around the same time the unclassified network of the Executive Office of the US President was breached, the same thing happened to some computer systems belonging to the US State Department.

According to the NYT, the breach affected the State Department’s unclassified email system, which was consequently taken down in order to repair the damage and improve security. It is expected to be up again on Monday or Tuesday.

“This has impacted some of our unclassified email traffic and our access to public websites from our main unclassified system,” one senior State Department official shared.

The “activity of concern” on the system was detected in late October, and apparently none of the Department’s classified systems were ultimately affected.

There is no indication about who the attackers might be or if they were the same ones who recently targeted the White House and the US Postal Service (the latter more successfully than the rest).

The general consensus seems to be that whoever the attackers are, they are engaged in a cyber espionage campaign.

“To me this looks like hacking groups either independent or state sponsored are in reconnaissance phase, probing government agency networks to identify vulnerabilities and what data they can access,” commented Tripwire’s Ken Westin. “Although no damage has been inflicted on these systems, the outages do have an impact and could be a precursor to a more organized attack.

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US State Department targeted by hackers