Officials at the State Dept. are cautious after noticing “activity of concern,” and they have shut down their unclassified email system to repair any damage caused by a possible attack from hackers. The Huffington Post reported the problem at with at the State Dept. occurred around the same time an incident targeted the White House’s computer network.
The possible attack on the White House computer system was made public in late October and at that time, there was nothing to indicate computers at the State Dept. were hacked. Since the report was released, several government agencies have reported attacks on their systems. Some of the agencies targeted include the U.S. Postal Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as the National Weather Service. There were at least four different cyber attacks on the NOAA computer network.
According to a report by NBC News, officials at the State Dept. have said none of the classified systems were not affected by the hack attack. Along with email traffic, the attack also interfered with the State Dept.’s access to public websites.
A State Dept. official who asked not to be named would not discuss who might be behind the cyber attack. Computer hacking is a tool used by other government’s to access confidential information or to shutdown computer service as a cyber terrorist attack. As Yahoo! News reported, previous attacks on governmental computer systems have been blamed on Russian or Chinese hackers, but no the origin of those attacks were never confirmed.
The Inquisitr reported that the cyber attack against the USPS is believed to have been done by hackers working for the Chinese government. The information hacked from the USPS computers included private information for about 800,000 workers, including the Postmaster General.
The State Dept. shut down their email system late Friday as part of a scheduled maintenance outage. They are making security improvements to some of the Internet-linked systems on its main unclassified computer system. The official at the State Dept. who spoke about the attack said the agency hopes to have their system back up and running as soon as they can. The State Dept. is expected to address the issue on Monday or Tuesday, once the security improvements have been completed.
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