Russian Hackers Accused Of Spying On US Agencies

Suspected Hackers believed to be working for Russia have been monitoring internal email traffic at the U.S. Treasury and Commerce departments, according to people familiar with the matter.

Vaishnavi Navalkar

December 14, 2020

Trending News

3 min


According to People familiar with the matter, hackers believed to be working for Russia have been monitoring internal email traffic at the US Treasury Department and an agency that decides internet and telecommunications policy. A National meeting was called out at the White House after the piece of information came to light. The commerce department has confirmed that they had been a victim of a data breach with links to Russia. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation are investigating the breach.

Reuters first reported the data breach, soon followed by The Washington Post, which claimed that Russian government hackers targeted Commerce and Treasury departments, along with a few government agencies. John Ullyot, the National Security Council spokesman said, “We are taking necessary steps to identify and remedy any possible issues related to this situation.” According to Reuters, the breach was undertaken using a “supply chain attack”, whereby malicious code is embedded into a legitimate software made by third parties.

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Additionally, they also confirmed that the same group hacked the elite cybersecurity firm FireEye and that the FBI is now investigating the same. According to reports by WION, Russian group APT29 was behind the FireEye data breach. Russia’s aggressive cybersecurity campaign against the US has targeted the public and the private sectors. Although many claim that the Commerce and Treasury department have been identified so far, many more victims will prop up. According to an advisory released by the National Security Agency last week, Russia’s state-backed stakeholders were attempting to access data on protected government systems and urged for networks to be patched.

The Russian foreign ministry, in a Facebook Statement, denied such allegations and claimed that this is another attempt by the US media to pin cyberattacks on Russia. The hackers got access to data by tampering with updates provided by an IT company named SolarWinds, which manages government data across the military intelligence services and executive.

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