Russian hackers executed the US State Department, White House network breaches

The October 2014 breaches of some of the computer systems of the US State Department and the White House have been executed by Russian hackers, unnamed US officials familiar with the investigation told CNN reporters.

“The intrusion was routed through computers around the world, as hackers often do to hide their tracks, but investigators found tell-tale codes and other markers that they believe point to hackers working for the Russian government,” the news outfit reported.

Although the White House breach was first made public, it seems that the attackers got to it by compromising the State Department’s unclassified email system in late October.

Both systems are believed to have been compromised via phishing emails.

After a State Department employee was tricked into installing malware on the computer, the attackers managed to ultimately compromise the email system. This allowed them to compromise employees’ email accounts and use them to sent out legitimate-looking phishing emails to White House employees. The infection process was repeated and the unclassified Executive Office of the President network was breached.

Apparently, the White House’s classified network wasn’t compromised, but the breach of the unclassified one allowed the attackers to access sensitive information such as President Obama’s schedule.

Obama adviser Ben Rhodes commented that despite vulnerabilities in the unclassified system, they believe that White House’s classified computer systems are secure.

“We’re constantly updating our security measures on our unclassified system, but we’re frankly told to act as if we need not put information that’s sensitive on that system,” he stated.

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