The hack was so serious that it led to a meeting of the National Security Council at the White House on Saturday, Reuters, which first reported the breach. The U.S. Department of Commerce confirmed on Sunday that it had been the victim of a data breach.
Sources told Reuters the hackers had been monitoring the emails of NTI’s Office software, Microsoft’s Office 365, and employees at the agency for several months, the source told Reuters.
The department told CNN in a statement: “We can confirm that there has been a breach in any of our bureaus.
“We have asked the CISA and the FBI to investigate, and we cannot comment further at this time.
“The CISA is providing technical assistance to the affected organizations as they work to identify and mitigate any potential compromises.”
National Security Council spokesman John Ulio said: “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 U.S. intelligence community fears that hackers could use similar tools to gain access to other government agencies, and that hackers are believed to be working for Russia, people told Reuters.
Two sources said the breaches served as part of a campaign that included Fire Eye Hack, a major U.S. cybersecurity firm with the government and commercial contractors.
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“It’s a much bigger story than a single company,” a person familiar with the matter told the news agency. “This is a huge cyber espionage operation targeting the US government and its interests.”
A spokesman for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said;
“We are working closely with our agency partners on recently discovered activity in government networks.
“CISA is providing technical assistance to the affected organizations as they work to identify and mitigate any possible compromises.
People close to him told the Washington Post that the hackers were working for Russia’s foreign intelligence agency SVR.
The FBI and the U.S. National Security Agency have been contacted for comment.
Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment.