Russia has been implicated in a sophisticated hack on the Pentagon email system. One official reportedly said it was “clearly” the work of a government, indicating the Kremlin. Even though the hacked data was not classified, many of the emails from high-level officials contained sensitive information, including details on planning, schedules, and personnel.
According to a source at NBC News, the hack happened around July 25 and affected roughly 4,000 military and civilian email accounts connected to employees of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon. It relied on an automated process that obtained massive amounts of data, and within minutes, distributed it throughout the internet.
Officials believe the hack was most likely from Russia’s government given the level of sophistication.
One anonymous source stated, “It was clearly the work of a state actor.”
The Russian embassy in Washington has not commented on the Pentagon attack.
CNN reports that China is also a suspect, but the system intrusion is not typical of Chinese cyberattacks. In June, China was linked to another hack, where millions of personnel files were taken from the Office of Personnel Management. Beijing denied any connection.
In the recent hack from Russia, officials insist that no classified systems were compromised, but sources indicated that even unclassified information could be sensitive.
Former FBI cyber special agent Andre McGregor explained more, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“If you are able to get all that information from three or four individuals’ emails or communication, you have an entire picture of what’s been worked on the classified side.”
Despite the advanced programming to disseminate the data, the hackers gained initial access to the email server through old-fashioned phishing emails. It’s not clear what the emails said that tricked the staff, but the Pentagon has started half-hour classes on how to spot malicious messages.
The Pentagon Joint Chief’s staff reacted quickly to the cyberattack, shutting down all unclassified email servers and beginning an investigation. Officials expect the servers to be back up by the end of this week.
The hack from Russia was also briefly discussed in the recent GOP presidential debate when candidate Ted Cruz linked it to the recent Iran nuclear deal and Iranian Maj. Gen. General Qasam Soleimani.
“The day Gen. Soleimani flew back from Moscow to Iran was the day we believed that Russia used cyberwarfare against the Joint Chiefs.”
As previously reported by the the Inquisitr, hackers from Russia also managed to get into the White House email servers, and they even successfully planted a “digital bomb” into the NASDAQ systems in another hack.
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