News and Commentary

Mike Pompeo Blames Russia For Massive Hack Of Government Agencies
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo answers questions after giving on China foreign policy at Georgia Tech on December 9, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that Russia was likely behind what has been described as “the worst hacking case in the history of America.”

Pompeo told radio host Mark Levin that the hack was “pretty clearly” the work of Russians, becoming the first U.S. government official to place blame for the hack. Russian President Vladimir Putin denies the claims.

“I can’t say much more as we’re still unpacking precisely what it is, and I’m sure some of it will remain classified.  But suffice it to say there was a significant effort to use a piece of third-party software to essentially embed code inside of U.S. Government systems and it now appears systems of private companies and companies and governments across the world as well.  This was a very significant effort, and I think it’s the case that now we can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians that engaged in this activity,” Pompeo said in response to a question from Levin about the cyberattack.

Fox News reported that the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency sent a warning message on Thursday – the day before Pompeo’s interview with Levin – saying the major hack compromised numerous federal agencies and “critical infrastructure.” CISA added that the attack was difficult to detect and, subsequently, difficult to fix, as many in the industry still don’t even know what was specifically targeted.

“CISA officials did not respond to questions, and so it was unclear what the agency meant by a ‘grave threat’ or by ‘critical infrastructure’ possibly targeted in the attack that the agency says appeared to have begun last March. Homeland Security, the agency’s parent department, defines such infrastructure as any ‘vital’ assets to the U.S. or its economy — a broad category that could include power plants and financial institutions,” Fox reported. “The agency previously said the perpetrators had used network management software from Texas-based SolarWinds to infiltrate computer networks. Its new alert said the attackers may have used other methods, as well.”

As The Daily Wire previously reported, among the agencies breached by the hack was the National Nuclear Security Administration, though government officials have said the malware did not impact the security of the agency.

“At this point, the investigation has found that the malware has been isolated to business networks only, and has not impacted the mission essential national security functions of the department, including the National Nuclear Security Administration,” Shaylyn Hynes, a Department of Energy spokesperson. “When DOE identified vulnerable software, immediate action was taken to mitigate the risk, and all software identified as being vulnerable to this attack was disconnected from the DOE network.”

More from Fox:

As it stands now, the U.S. State Department, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and elements of the Department of Defense have reported being compromised. The hack may have lasted for months, targeting Treasury and Commerce departments.

Government agencies, such as the Department of Energy, moved quickly to protect themselves and investigate the incidents.

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