Russian hackers attack Pentagon email system, breach US online security – TomoNews

Russian hackers attack Pentagon email system, breach US online security – TomoNews

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Russian hackers attack Pentagon email system, breach US online security – TomoNews
THE PENTAGON — The Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) sent out an alert on August 1, saying several U.S. government and private agencies had been the target of an email based phishing campaign between June and July. NBC News reports that U.S. officials believe the attack is the work of […]
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THE PENTAGON — The Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) sent out an alert on August 1, saying several U.S. government and private agencies had been the target of an email based phishing campaign between June and July.

NBC News reports that U.S. officials believe the attack is the work of Russian state-sponsored hackers. The hackers penetrated an unclassified email system used by about 4,000 government and civilian employees under the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The system has been shut down since at least July 27.

The hackers used compromised computers at legitimate companies to conduct “spear-phishing” attacks, which penetrated the Joint Chiefs’ unclassified email system. Classified email systems were not penetrated.

In a “spear-phishing” attack, emails with malicious content are sent to specific users. Opening the links or attached files exposes the targeted user’s computer and network to exploitation by hackers.

Users of the Joint Chiefs’ unclassified email system received apparently legitimate emails from known senders containing links to websites with malicious Adobe Flash elements.

Other malicious emails had compressed files attached that contained executable files which, when opened, would compromise the computer network.

Within a minute after infection, computers sent massive amounts of data to thousands of addresses worldwide.

The hackers’ identities were obscured by encryption. The compromised email system has been shut down in response.

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