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Intel agencies say Russia ‘likely actor’ in government cybersecurity breach

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Posted at 2:07 PM, Jan 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-05 16:10:48-05

A quartet of federal agencies released a joint statement on Tuesday claiming that the Russian government was “likely” responsible for a massive cybersecurity breach of US federal government and private networks.

The FBI, Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the Director of National Intelligence issued a joint statement in December confirming an investigation was underway over a hack of government networks.

Previously, President Donald Trump suggested that the hack was caused by China, but the intel agencies say that Russia was likely behind most or all of the breach.

The federal agencies said that 18,000 public and private sector computers were impacted by the breach, a number smaller than the intelligence agencies previously believed. The agencies said that 10 US government agencies were impacted.

The federal government said it’s in the process of notifying those impacted in the private sector.

SolarWinds, the company whose Orion product was breached, said in December it released an update to address the issue.

“Based on SolarWinds’ investigation, this malware could be deployed through an exploitation of a vulnerability in the Orion Platform," SolarWinds said last month. “Like other software companies, SolarWinds seeks to responsibly disclose vulnerabilities in its products to customers, while also mitigating the risk that bad actors seek to exploit those vulnerabilities, by releasing updates to their products before the company discloses the vulnerabilities.”

In December, the federal government told all public sector users of SolarWinds’ Orion products to power down their computers.