Security concerns in U.S. government agencies are escalating, as an unnamed senior State Department official confirms that the White House wasn’t the only victim of recent hacking attacks. In fact, the State Department was reportedly targeted during the same time-frame as the White House’s network was last month.The State Department scrambled over the weekend to secure its unclassified e-mails, shutting down the entire e-mail system after finding evidence suggesting a hacker may have been been poking around.
A senior State Department official said technicians recently detected “activity of concern” in portions of the system handling unclassified e-mail. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the breach, said that none of the department’s classified systems were compromised.
As a result of that incident the State Department scheduled an outage this weekend of some Internet systems to implement security improvements to its main unclassified network.The official said the shutdown has impacted some of the State Department’s unclassified email traffic as well as access to some public web sites.
“We expect our systems to be up and running soon,” the official said.
The official said the State Department incident happened around the same time as a previously reported hacking incident to the White House’s unclassified computer network in early October.In late October, the White House also cited “activity of concern,” acknowledging a hacking attack in early October to its unclassified email system.As with the State Department incident, the White House’s classified network was not affected and additional security measures were later implemented to the unclassified system.
But White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest did not point any fingers when he was asked in late October who was behind the White House hacking incident.
“There are many people around the world who would love to gain greater insight into the activities of the U.S. government by collecting information from the White House network,” Earnest said.