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Intelligence Agencies: Russia Likely Origin of Federal Hack

According to U.S. intelligence agencies and the FBI, the recent hack against the federal government and some major corporations was likely “Russian in origin.”

by Gregory Korte and Alyza Sebenius, Bloomberg News / January 6, 2021
A SolarWinds logo is displayed on a post from the company as seen on a phone in Portland, Ore., on December 19, 2020, providing security information after a highly sophisticated cyber attack inserted a vulnerability in their Orion Platform products distributed via malware hidden in software updates to 18,000 customers including US government agencies and Fortune 500 companies. The attack was identified by cybersecurity firm FireEye who had a number of their hacking tools stolen during a likely state-sponsored espionage attempt. (Photo by Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa USA/TNS) TNS

(TNS) — U.S. intelligence agencies and the FBI said a major hack of the federal government and some corporations was likely undertaken by Russia -- contradicting President Donald Trump’s efforts to suggest China might be responsible -- and “will require a sustained and dedicated effort to remediate.”

The FBI is still focused on identifying victims, collecting and analyzing evidence and sharing information about the sophisticated hack, according to a joint statement on Tuesday from the FBI, National Security Agency, Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. The cyberattacks are ongoing, according to the agencies.

The hack targeted updates in widely used software from Austin, Texas-based SolarWinds Corp., which has said as many as 18,000 of its customers may have received the malicious code. According to the statement, the agencies believe that “a much smaller number has been compromised by follow-on activity on their systems.”

“We have so far identified fewer than 10 U.S. government agencies that fall into this category, and are working to identify the nongovernment entities who also may be impacted,” according to the statement.

Russia has rejected accusations it was behind the hack.

However, in the statement, the agencies said the attacks were likely “Russian in origin” and are believed to be “an intelligence gathering effort.”

Tuesday’s statement is the latest contradiction of Trump’s assessment of the hack. Attorney General William Barr and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have previously said Russia was likely responsible.

“The Cyber Hack is far greater in the Fake News Media than in actuality. I have been fully briefed and everything is well under control. Russia, Russia, Russia is the priority chant when anything happens because Lamestream is, for mostly financial reasons, petrified of discussing the possibility that it may be China (it may!),” Trump wrote in a series of tweets Dec. 19.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P., Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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