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Justice Department email at risk

 


The U.S. Department of Justice has confirmed that hackers who broke into software company SolarWinds gained access to its e-mail systems, another indication of the seriousness of the hack that rocked Washington.

The extent of the breach at the Justice Department was not immediately clear, but it could be significant.

The department, which has more than 100,000 employees across a series of law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, said in a statement that 3 percent of its Office 365 mailboxes are likely to be accessed.

The Justice Department has no indication that any secret regimes have been affected, but access to up to thousands of e-mail boxes for the country's law enforcement agencies could provide intelligence wealth to foreign hackers, the statement said.

The U.S. Department of Justice plays a key role in rooting out foreign spies, imposing sanctions and fighting corruption.

The ministry has recently taken increasing action against foreign hackers, uncovering a series of indictments against Russian, Chinese and Iranian cyber spies in the run-up to the U.S. presidential election two months ago.

"The Justice Department's chief information officer's office discovered the hack the day before Christmas, weeks after initial reports emerged that hackers acting on behalf of Russia had hacked into U.S. government networks," the statement said.

Russia has denied responsibility for the piracy campaign, which is described as one of the most complex operations uncovered in years.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said That Russia may have been behind the hack in the first official statement of support from the Trump administration.

The hackers gained access to a range of government agencies by tampering with solarWinds' network monitoring software.

In a joint statement, the National Intelligence Bureau, the FBI, the National Security Agency, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency within the Department of Homeland Security said the attacker, possibly of Russian origin, was responsible for most or all of the ongoing and recent cyber intrusions of both government and non-governmental networks.

The agencies said that the investigation was ongoing and could result in more government casualties, and it now appeared that the hackers' aim was to gather information, not any acts of destruction.

The Director of National Intelligence said that fewer than 10 government agencies were affected, and cybersecurity experts said it could take months to fully recover from violations.

Source :

cnet

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