It's Been Three Months And The State Department Is Still Hacked

Back in November, we learned that the State Department's unclassified networks had been hit by an unidentified group of hackers, causing the department's email and websites to go offline, and prompting some awkward conversations with the IT guys. And according to a WSJ report, the State Department still hasn't managed to clean up the mess.

The report quotes "people familiar with the investigation", who claim that the agency's network (and probably a side helping of government efficiency) has made the clean-up difficult. Apparently, they don't know how much (if any) of the network is hacker-free, and parts of the system still go offline from time to time. Investigators are also playing a cat-and-mouse game with the intruders, with new attacks being made with slightly-altered versions of the original exploit.

All in all, it serves as a worrying reminder of the potential damage a hack can wreak. Different attacks have had different end results: Sony's recent hack resulted in a fairly small $15 million bill, whereas other companies have dealt with breaches by physically destroying every bit of infected hardware. [WSJ]

State Department Computer Systems Hit by Hackers

Yesterday, the State Department announced that it's had to temporarily shut down its email system and public websites following a breach of its computer systems.

The Associated Press reports that the security breach didn't ultimately affect its classified systems. "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 told the New York Times.

The breach was discovered when "activity of concern" was detected on the State Department's computer system. There's no word on how long hackers may have had access, but it is reported that security improvements were being made as of Sunday.

It's the fourth such compromise in recent months, with computer systems at the White House, the United States Postal Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration being affected. It's not clear if the events are related. [AP]

Image via Shutterstock / Pavel Ignatov