Russia is the leading suspect behind a cyberattack that prompted the Pentagon to take an unclassified email system offline last month. According to NBC News, that the email system has been offline ever since.
The breach occurred around July 25th and affected about 4,000 military and civilian personnel who work for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity. As is often the case, the trouble seems to have started with a phishing email that tricked a bunch of people into opening it and then stole their network credentials.
After the attack was detected, the Pentagon immediately shut down the entire Joint Staff unclassified email system. Officials say that no classified information was compromised and only unclassified accounts were hacked, according to NBC.
At this point, it’s unclear whether the attack was the work of individuals or had government sanctioning. But it’s not the first time in recent months that Russians have been blamed for a major cyberattack against the US government. In April, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said that Russian hackers had briefly broken into the Pentagon’s unclassified networks, and late last year, hackers with alleged Moscow ties penetrated State Department and White House networks.
Of course, this breach still pales in comparison to the OPM hack earlier this summer, in which over 22 million federal workers and contractors had their personal information stolen. In light of all the other government data debacles of late, I guess we should count ourselves lucky this one wasn’t worse.
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