WASHINGTON, D.C. – An unclassified White House network was recently breached by hackers.
Officials would not comment on who was responsible for the hack, but Russia has been named as the primary suspect, announced The Washington Post. The newspaper cited unknown sources.
“In the course of assessing recent threats, we identified activity of concern on the unclassified Executive Office of the President network,” a White House official stated.
The breach was discovered three weeks ago, and the issue was immediately addressed by efforts from the FBI, Secret Service and National Security Agency. The network affected was used by members of President Obama’s senior staff.
The hack resulted in a series of connectivity issues and outages, the White House announced Tuesday.
No apparent damage was done and the attack does not appear to have been aimed at permanent destruction of the network, said administration officials. It remains unclear if the hackers intended to use access into this network to enter other White House systems or gather classified information.
Recent reports have identified “cyber espionage campaigns” against the US by hackers hired by the Russian government. Russia is widely suspected as the culprit behind this recent security breach
Possible motive for the hack could be “to test what the security threat culture is, or to get valuable information about the security posture at the White House,” said Armond Caglar, a cybersecurity expert for TSC Advantage, a Washington consulting company that addresses security hacks.
“We took immediate measures to evaluate and mitigate the activity,” the official said. “Unfortunately, some of that resulted in the disruption of regular services to users. But people were on it and are dealing with it.”
Attacks against government networks are constant threats, but this recent intrusion was unexpected by the White House.
“This is a constant battle for the government and our sensitive government computer systems, so it’s always a concern for us that individuals are trying to compromise systems and get access to our networks,” said an additional White House official.
The White House has declined to comment on whether or not any data was obtained during the security breach or on reports that Russia was behind the attack.
UPDATED: 1:10 PM EST, November 6, 2014
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