US suspects Russia ‘hacked into US nuclear weapons stockpile’
Russians have “hacked into the US nuclear weapons stockpile” in a breach that may be a “grave threat” to America.
It has now been revealed that The Energy Department and National Nuclear Security Administration have proof that their networks were accessed by hackers, officials told Politico.
The NNSA and DOE sustain the nuclear weapons stockpile for the United States.
A source told the news outlet that their networks were hacked amid an “extensive espionage operation.”
The move has reportedly impacted at least six federal agencies.
According to the report, suspicious activity was found within the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories in New Mexico and Washington, the Office of Secure Transportation at NNSA, and the Richland Field Office of the DOE.
Officials revealed that “evidence of highly malicious activity” was found, however, more information was not revealed.
Meanwhile, President-elect Joe Biden put out a statement Thursday in response to the “massive cybersecurity breach.”
The statement read: “I want to be clear: My administration will make cybersecurity a top priority at every level of government — and we will make dealing with this breach a top priority from the moment we take office.
“We will elevate cybersecurity as an imperative across the government, further strengthen partnerships with the private sector, and expand our investment in the infrastructure and people we need to defend against malicious cyberattacks.”
Biden added: “Our adversaries should know that, as president, I will not stand idly by in the face of cyber assaults on our nation.”
Federal officials issued an urgent warning earlier on Thursday that the suspected hackers posed as “a grave risk to the federal government.”
Alongside potentially stealing data from agencies within the Treasury Department and the US Department of Commerce, it has since emerged that other software in the “supply chain” used by government agencies may have been hacked, the New York Times reported.
“This adversary has demonstrated an ability to exploit software supply chains and shown significant knowledge of Windows networks,” the alert read.
“It is likely that the adversary has additional initial access vectors and tactics, techniques and procedures,” which, it said, ”have not yet been discovered.”
“Taken together, these observed techniques indicate an adversary who is skilled, stealthy with operational security, and is willing to expend significant resources to maintain covert presence,” the warning said.
Due to this, investigators said it could take months to figure out which American networks have been compromised.
Earlier this week it was announced that hackers, who are believed to be spies working for the Russian government, stole data from major United States agencies.
The “sophisticated” hackers also had free access to their email systems, reports said.
It remains unclear if the systems contained highly classified material – and sources told The New York Times that the motive behind hacking the agencies was also uncertain.
The outlet reported that the attack appears to be the largest on federal systems in the past five years and officials only became aware of it in recent weeks.
The hacking revelations were deemed serious enough to prompt an emergency National Security Council meeting on Saturday, Reuters reported.
John Ullyot, the spokesman for the National Security Council, said in a statement: “The United States government is aware of these reports, and we are taking all necessary steps to identify and remedy any possible issues related to this situation.“
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) confirmed the breach to Reuters and said it is working with partners to investigate the attack.
“We have been working closely with our agency partners regarding recently discovered activity on government networks,” CISA stated.
“CISA is providing technical assistance to affected entities as they work to identify and mitigate any potential compromises.”
Last month, President Donald Trump fired Christopher Krebs in a tweet when the nation’s top cybersecurity official said that the 2020 presidential election was among the most secure in the country’s history.
Krebs, who oversaw CISA, was responsible for leading the effort to protect U.S. elections.
“Highly sophisticated” hackers with a foreign state succeeded in tricking Microsoft‘s authentication controls to attack the Treasury Department, Disclose TV reported.
Microsoft Office 365 can be compromised due to the attack, according to the publishing online community.
The revelation comes after one of the biggest and most renowned cybersecurity firms in the world, FireEye, was recently hacked in an attack suspected to have come from Russia.
FireEye’s chief executive Kevin Mandia revealed in a blog post on Tuesday that hackers in the “state- sponsored attack” accessed internal systems and sought information about clients in the government sector.
The hackers compromised FireEye’s “Red Team tools,” which the company uses to test the defence mechanisms of its clients.
“I’ve concluded we are witnessing an attack by a nation with top-tier offensive capabilities,” Mandia wrote.
“The attackers tailored their world-class capabilities specifically to target and attack FireEye.”
Russia was most likely behind the attack and the hackers were extremely skilled, a source told The Wall Street Journal.
“This was a sniper shot that got through,” the source said.
Following the attack, FireEye began working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Microsoft and other companies in the cybersecurity industry on a probe into the attack.
The FBI warned in August that the Russian military intelligence agency linked with hacking Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign has unleashed malware to spy on US computers.
Called Drovorub, the bug allows the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate, known as GRU, to target Linux computers, allowing Russian agents to spy on infected machines, according to the Justice Department.
The GRU is considered an elite group within the Russian military – whose head reports directly to President Vladimir Putin.
The Washington Post reported that SVR, unlike the GRU, hacks “for traditional espionage purposes.”
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced here with permission