Carter reveals Russians hacked Pentagon networks
Fri 24 Apr 2015
The Pentagon has disclosed that Russian hackers were able to breach one of its secure networks earlier this year, and referred to the attack as a “worrisome” incident.
“Earlier this year, the sensors that guard DOD’s unclassified networks detected Russian hackers accessing one of our networks,” said defence secretary Ash Carter yesterday during a speech on technology and cybersecurity at Stanford University.
Carter warned Russia that the U.S. Department of Defense would retaliate with cyber campaigns should it see fit. “Adversaries should know that our preference for deterrence and our defensive posture don’t diminish our willingness to use cyber options if necessary,” said Carter.
He added in a prepared statement that the Russian hackers had been able to gain access to an “unclassified network” but had been “quickly identified” by a team of cyberattack experts who managed to block the hackers “within 24 hours.”
The cybersecurity response team had quickly analysed the hack patterns and code and identified the intruders as Russian, before “kicking them off the network.”
Earlier this month, it was also revealed that Russian hackers had breached unclassified networks at the White House. According to reports at the time, the attackers tried to access “sensitive, non-public information” stored in the systems, including details of President Barack Obama’s private itineraries.
Experts claimed that the attack had been facilitated by a hack on the State Department in February, which used a phishing email scam to infect the system with malware and allowed the hackers to penetrate the nationwide network.
Commenting on this initial federal breach FBI director James Clapper explained to a Senate committee that the cyber threat coming from Russia was “more severe than […] previously assessed.”
In March, National Security Agency chief Michael Rogers also added that Russia is becoming a “much more active […] cyber arena in a much more visible way.”