The press is reporting a massive hack of US government networks by sophisticated Russian hackers.
Officials said a hunt was on to determine if other parts of the government had been affected by what looked to be one of the most sophisticated, and perhaps among the largest, attacks on federal systems in the past five years. Several said national security-related agencies were also targeted, though it was not clear whether the systems contained highly classified material.
The motive for the attack on the agency and the Treasury Department remains elusive, two people familiar with the matter said. One government official said it was too soon to tell how damaging the attacks were and how much material was lost, but according to several corporate officials, the attacks had been underway as early as this spring, meaning they continued undetected through months of the pandemic and the election season.
The attack vector seems to be a malicious update in SolarWinds’ “Orion” IT monitoring platform, which is widely used in the US government (and elsewhere).
SolarWinds’ comprehensive products and services are used by more than 300,000 customers worldwide, including military, Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and education institutions. Our customer list includes:
- More than 425 of the US Fortune 500
- All ten of the top ten US telecommunications companies
- All five branches of the US Military
- The US Pentagon, State Department, NASA, NSA, Postal Service, NOAA, Department of Justice, and the Office of the President of the United States
- All five of the top five US accounting firms
- Hundreds of universities and colleges worldwide
I’m sure more details will become public over the next several weeks.
EDITED TO ADD (12/15): More news.