Suspected Russian Hackers Behind Breach Of U.S. Treasury, Other Government Agencies

December 14, 2020 00:19 GMT – By RFE/RL

Suspected Russian hackers broke into U.S. government networks, including the Treasury and Commerce departments, in a major breach that may have been taking place for months.

National Security Council spokesperson John Ullyot said in a statement on December 13 that the government was “taking all necessary steps to identify and remedy any possible issues related to this situation.”

Reuters was the first to report on the breach.

Officials familiar with the matter said the hackers targeted the Treasury Department and the Commerce Department’s agency responsible for deciding internet and telecommunications policy. There is also concern networks at other government agencies may have been compromised.

The situation is so serious the National Security Council gathered at the White House on December 12, Reuters reported.

“This is a much bigger story than one single agency,” one of the people familiar with the matter told Reuters. “This is a huge cyber espionage campaign targeting the U.S. government and its interests.”

Reuters and The Washington Post, citing U.S. officials, said Russian government hackers are currently believed to be behind the attack.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity arm, and other agencies are investigating.

The cyber operation, which also involved the hackers spying on internal email traffic at the targeted agencies, may have been taking place for months and only discovered now, officials said.

The revelation comes after U.S. cybersecurity firm FireEye on December 8 said that “a nation with top-tier offensive capabilities” broke into its network.

The hackers stole tools FireEye uses to test vulnerabilities in the computer networks of its customers, including federal, state, and local governments and top corporations.

Many in the cybersecurity community suspect the Russian intelligence-linked hacking group known as APT29, or Cozy Bear, was behind the FireEye attack.

The same group was behind attacks on the State Department and White House during the administration of President Barack Obama, as well as the hack of the Democratic National Committee’s servers during the 2016 presidential campaign.

15 comments

  • Bullshit! It was the commies from China, and it was related to Huawei and certain other chinese companies – which the Trump administration considers a national security threat. Not defending RuSSia here, but these are facts.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Why are these facts? Because you think it was China?
      The article says it is Russia, so you assume it is China? Strange logic.

      Is it because Trump doesn’t want to blame Russia for it, like always, so you say it is China, not to hurt your buddy?

      If it were China, it was probably done a bit more gently, as China is less assertive and more important for trade. And China is more interested in technology than the tax service.

      Liked by 4 people

      • ‘The article says it’s RuSSia’…

        That is YOUR evidence? When your toilet is clogged you blame RuSSia? Why didn’t RuSSia change the election outcome in 2008, 2012 and 2020, if this outhouse shithouse is so almighty? And calling RuSSia my buddy disqualifies your dutch ass for any further conversation! Idiot!

        Liked by 1 person

        • There is nothing that points at China, only your speculation. And this hack wasn’t related to any election. I am not even sure if ever managed to change the outcome of the election (even in 2016).

          But it is not so hard to find out who is responsible for the hacks, as it often leaves traces, and also each hacking group has its own preferred methods.

          I think this hack was meant to disrupt, as a tax revenue service is irrelevant for China, which also often hacks, but mostly to steal intellectual property, not to destabilise a country.

          And even though I think the Chinese government is a horror, they will only shoot themselves in their feet if they cause havoc in the U.S., as trade with America is of utmost importance to them.

          China mainly hacks to earn money, Russia to compensated for the small size of Putin’s penis.

          Liked by 3 people

          • Btw my touchscreen is broken, so I made quite some typos in the message above.

            Liked by 3 people

            • Obviously you also can’t read properly on your broken display.

              I was not referring to elections in my original first statement. The article reads ‘the hackers targeted the Treasury Department and the Commerce Department’s agency responsible for deciding internet and telecommunications policy.’ Do Huawei and TikTok ring a bell?

              Liked by 3 people

              • Wait, I think you have a point.

                Liked by 3 people

                • Good. It’s of course a guess, but the most realistic in my view. Surely ruSSian hackers could have assisted the chicoms. We have to wait what evidence the authorities will find.

                  Liked by 3 people

                  • I still think the Russians did it, as I read it on multiple websites. And don’t think they cooperated with
                    China, as China doesn’t like the extremely aggressive (and therefore easily noticeable) behavior. Russia is kinda unpredictable, while Beijing operates very prudently. Therefore, I don’t think they are ideal partners. For the same reason, cooperation between North-Korea and China decreased, that is now closer to Russia.

                    But I give you points for pointing out the target is something you would rather expect to be of interest the Chinese.

                    The prompt reaction by the Kremlin, which may be prepared in advance, makes me more inclined to believe it were the Russians.

                    Liked by 2 people

    • This is what Russia said. LMAO

      Russia’s Embassy in the U.S. hit back later Sunday against what it said were the “unfounded” media claims, denying any role in the alleged attacks.

      “Malicious activities in the information space contradicts the principles of the Russian foreign policy, national interests and our understanding of interstate relations,” the embassy said in a statement on its official Facebook page.

      “Russia does not conduct offensive operations in the cyber domain.”

      Liked by 5 people

    • Those commies work together. They are both thieves and mafiosos just working with different accents. Moscow is working for CCP hoping to be killed last and you can bet anything the Moskali know, the virus-spreaders know too.

      Liked by 4 people

  • How many times more must hackers breach our systems before we act accordingly? And, it matters not who it was. NO ONE should be able to do so! Period!

    Liked by 2 people

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