Washington, D.C., and the mainstream media have been abuzz in recent days regarding what appears to have been a long-term, massive cyberattack on the U.S. that breached countless computer systems in the private and public sectors.
According to Axios, a federal investigation remains ongoing and continues to uncover evidence of just how broad the breach was and exactly what information might have been compromised.
“The bottom of the well”
While the most likely culprits are Russian hackers, some within the Trump administration — including the president himself — remain reluctant to take that leap.
“We still don’t know the bottom of the well,” one unnamed administration official told Axios.
Thus far, investigators believe the breach initially occurred as far back as March and continued until at least last month’s elections.
According to Microsoft, which had been aiding the federal government in its response to the attack, at least 40 separate corporations, government agencies, and private-sector think tanks were breached and infiltrated.
The tech firm also noted that 80% of those firms are located in the U.S. The rest are based in seven other nations: Belgium, Canada, Israel, Mexico, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.
“Russia, Russia, Russia”
Axios noted that the U.S. government agencies targeted and infiltrated in the attack included the departments of commerce, defense, energy, homeland security, state, treasury, the National Institutes of Health, and, perhaps most concerning, the National Nuclear Security Administration.
An alert on Saturday from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, a part of the Department of Homeland Security, shared what was known at the time about the massive breach.
CISA noted its awareness of “compromises of U.S. government agencies, critical infrastructure entities, and private sector organizations by an advanced persistent threat (APT) actor beginning in at least March 2020.”
Furthermore, the agency stated that the attacker “demonstrated patience, operational security, and complex tradecraft in these intrusions.”
Although some news reports criticized Trump’s early silence on the issue, he responded via a pair of tweets on Saturday, writing: “The Cyber Hack is far greater in the Fake News Media than in actuality. I have been fully briefed and everything is well under control. Russia, Russia, Russia is the priority chant when anything happens because Lamestream is, for mostly financial reasons, petrified of … discussing the possibility that it may be China (it may!). There could also have been a hit on our ridiculous voting machines during the election, which is now obvious that I won big, making it an even more corrupted embarrassment for the USA.”