Ben Rhoden, White House deputy national security adviser said, “We do not believe that our classified systems were compromised.”
The FBI, Secret Service and U.S. intelligence agencies consider it the most sophisticated attack ever instigated against U.S. government systems and are involved in investigating the breach. The investigators are suspicious that to get to White House, the hackers first broke into the State Department.
The hackers intruded through computers around the world in order to hide their tracks, but investigators found tell-tale codes and other markers that they believe point to hackers working for the Russian government.
However, the news network affirmed that the hackers were able to reach only an unclassified area of the system – information that would still be considered sensitive and valuable to foreign intelligence agencies.
The State Department computer system has been oppressed by hackers many times and despite efforts to lock them out, the Russian hackers have been able to reenter the system. One official says the Russian hackers have “owned” the State Department system for months and it is still not evident whether the hackers have been fully eradicated from the system.
National Security Council spokesman Mark Stroh didn’t confirm the Russian hack, but he did say that “any such activity is something we take very seriously.”
“In this case, as we made clear at the time, we took immediate measures to evaluate and mitigate the activity,” he said.
The U.S. State Department as well as the Russian Embassy immediately responded to a request for comment.
There is potential risk that in the future, the Russian hackers might be able to re-use their access to the State Department to invade the White House systems.