Unnamed sources told the Washington Post on Tuesday that hackers broke into the unclassified computer network of the White House. So far there's no evidence that the hackers gained access to the classified network or damaged any computers. However, the investigation is ongoing and involves the FBI, Secret Service and National Security Agency.
"Certainly a variety of actors find our networks to be attractive targets and seek access to sensitive information," a White House official told The Washington Post. "We are still assessing the activity of concern."
According to the report, an ally informed the U.S. government of the breach. The problem was actually discovered several weeks ago, and caused some White House staff members to change their passwords. Sources said that while cybersecurity teams worked to contain the breach, the Intranet and VPN were shut down for a while, but the email system remained up and running.
A White House official indicated that it's not uncommon to see "bad actors" trying to break into the White House networks. The government is constantly battling these invaders who seek out sensitive information.
So who is behind the White House breach? The government is keeping quiet on that front and is also refusing to comment on how much data was stolen.
However, the Washington Post indicates that the Russian government may be behind the White House breach, a theory based on recent cyberespionage campaigns carried out by Russian hackers, which are believed to be tied to the Russian government. The sources seem to agree, saying that the White House breach is similar to a "state-sponsored campaign."
This wouldn't be the first time the Russian intelligence service was accused of breaking into a U.S. government network. The Russian government supposedly broke into the U.S. military's classified networks back in 2008. This led to the formation of the U.S. Cyber Command, which is now dedicated to defending critical computer systems located in the government and the private sector.
What's disturbing here is that an ally of the United States informed the government of the White House breach. Even though the hack supposedly took place on the unclassified network, it's still unnerving to think that the White House security didn't detect a thing. The White House may need to re-evaluate its cyber defense system.