Trump's claim was rebutted by former CISA director Chris Krebs, who pointed out that Trump's claim was not possible. [8][38][54] This attack apparently used counterfeit identity tokens of some kind, allowing the attackers to trick Microsoft's authentication systems. ", "SolarWinds Orion: More US government agencies hacked", "Russian hack was 'classic espionage' with stealthy, targeted tactics", "Microsoft warns UK companies were targeted by SolarWinds hackers", "Group Behind SolarWinds Hack Bypassed MFA to Access Emails at US Think Tank", "SolarWinds hackers have a clever way to bypass multi-factor authentication", "Russian hackers compromised Microsoft cloud customers through third party, putting emails and other data at risk", "Suspected Russian hackers used Microsoft vendors to breach customers", "Russians Are Believed to Have Used Microsoft Resellers in Cyberattacks", "Microsoft, FireEye confirm SolarWinds supply chain attack", "Sunburst Trojan – What You Need to Know", "VMware Flaw a Vector in SolarWinds Breach? [90][92] The malware started to contact command-and-control servers in April 2020, initially from North America and Europe and subsequently from other continents too. [127][128][129], On January 5, 2021, CISA, the FBI, the NSA, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, all confirmed that they believe Russia was the most likely culprit.[131][132][133]. [26][25] FireEye gave the suspects the placeholder name "UNC2452";[77][13] incident response firm Volexity called them "Dark Halo". "[54] Fred Kaplan, writing in Slate, criticized Trump for promoting fake claims of election fraud while "ignoring a real cybersecurity crisis," writing: "For all of Trump's wailing about fictitious hacks that stole the election, he has been otherwise notably uncurious about the nation's cybersecurity. [1] Within days, additional federal departments were found to have been breached. "[231], Former Homeland Security Advisor Thomas P. Bossert said, "President Trump is on the verge of leaving behind a federal government, and perhaps a large number of major industries, compromised by the Russian government," and noted that congressional action, including via the National Defense Authorization Act would be required to mitigate the damage caused by the attacks. [42] In the following days, more departments and private organizations reported breaches. Now it is crystallizing that the attacks are probably also via a backdoor in SolarWinds products. ", "VMware Falls on Report Its Software Led to SolarWinds Breach", "Russian Hackers Have Been Inside Austin City Network for Months", "CISA orders agencies to quickly patch critical Netlogon bug", "REFILE-EXCLUSIVE-U.S. Treasury breached by hackers backed by foreign government – sources", "Russian government spies are behind a broad hacking campaign that has breached U.S. agencies and a top cyber firm", "Federal government breached by Russian hackers who targeted FireEye", "US cyber-attack: Russia 'clearly' behind SolarWinds operation, says Pompeo", "How Russia's 'Info Warrior' Hackers Let Kremlin Play Geopolitics on the Cheap", "Opinion | I Was the Homeland Security Adviser to Trump. [9][27][220] The NSC activated Presidential Policy Directive 41, an Obama-era emergency plan, and convened its Cyber Response Group. [98] The House Committee on Homeland Security and House Committee on Oversight and Reform announced an investigation. [214], On December 14, 2020, the Department of Commerce confirmed that it had asked the CISA and the FBI to investigate. [54][55][56] Also at that time, the DHS, which manages CISA, lacked a Senate-confirmed Secretary, Deputy Secretary, General Counsel, Undersecretary for Intelligence and Analysis, and Undersecretary for Management; and Trump had recently forced out the Deputy Director of CISA. Discovery of the breaches at the Treasury and the Department of Commerce immediately raised concerns that the attackers would attempt to breach other departments, or had already done so. [46] Harvard's Bruce Schneier, and NYU's Pano Yannakogeorgos, founding dean of the Air Force Cyber College, said that affected networks may need to be replaced completely. [116], In January 2021, cybersecurity firm Kaspersky said SUNBURST resembles the malware Kazuar, which is believed to have been created by Turla,[117][112][118][119] a group known from 2008 that Estonian intelligence previously linked to the Russian federal security service, FSB. [78][1] Because Orion was connected to customers' Office 365 accounts as a trusted 3rd-party application, the attackers were able to access emails and other confidential documents. Cybersecurity company Malwarebytes said on Tuesday that some of its emails were breached by the same hackers who used the software company SolarWinds to hack into a series of US government agencies. [160][77][161] The FBI, CISA, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) formed a Cyber Unified Coordination Group (UCG) to coordinate their efforts. [219], On December 14, 2020, the Department of Commerce confirmed that it had asked the CISA and the FBI to investigate. "[36][124], On December 20, Democratic senator Mark Warner, briefed on the incident by intelligence officials, said "all indications point to Russia. Welcome! [253], In Slate, Fred Kaplan argued that the structural problems that enable computer network intrusions like this had been public knowledge since 1967 and that successive U.S. governments had failed to implement the structural defenses repeatedly requested by subject experts. [1][141] Russia denied involvement in the attacks. The malware, affecting a product made by U.S. company SolarWinds, gave elite hackers remote access into an organization's networks so they could steal information. It is often tempting to infer an attacker’s intent from their chosen targets, and in this case, such conclusions are warranted. [1][4][134], Compromised versions were known to have been downloaded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Justice Department, and some utility companies. [22][14][8][17], At least one reseller of Microsoft cloud services was compromised by the attackers, constituting a supply chain attack that allowed the attackers to access Microsoft cloud services used by the reseller's customers. In 2020, a major cyberattack by a group backed by a foreign government penetrated multiple parts of United States federal government, leading to a series of data breaches. [223], On December 24, 2020, CISA said state and local government networks, in addition to federal ones, and other organizations, had been impacted by the attack, but did not provide further details. "[235], Then president-elect Joe Biden said that, "A good defense isn't enough; we need to disrupt and deter our adversaries from undertaking significant cyberattacks in the first place. [81], On December 12, 2020, a National Security Council (NSC) meeting was held at the White House to discuss the breach of federal organizations. [14] Volexity said it was not able to identify the attacker. [238][239], In January 2021, Biden named appointees for two relevant White House positions: Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall as homeland security adviser, and Anne Neuberger as deputy national security adviser for cyber and emerging technology. [8] On December 13, 2020, CISA issued an emergency directive asking federal agencies to disable the SolarWinds software, to reduce the risk of additional intrusions, even though doing so would reduce those agencies' ability to monitor their computer networks. [20][21] As of December 18, 2020, while it was definitively known that the Sunburst trojan would have provided suitable access to exploit the VMware bugs, it was not yet definitively known whether attackers had in fact chained those two exploits in the wild. [68][69] That same day, two private equity firms with ties to SolarWinds's board sold substantial amounts of stock in SolarWinds. "[36] On December 18, the United Kingdom National Cyber Security Centre said that it was still establishing the attacks' impact on the UK. [49][50], The federal data breach occurred over the course of at least 8 or 9 months during the final year of the presidency of Donald Trump. [43] Marco Rubio, acting chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the U.S. must retaliate, but only once the perpetrator is certain. It wasn’t a cyberattack in international relations terms, it was espionage. [20] VMware released patches on December 3, 2020. [13][14][73], Attackers were found to have broken into Microsoft Office 365 in a way that allowed them to monitor NTIA and Treasury staff emails for several months. [1][5], As of mid-December 2020, U.S. officials were still investigating what was stolen in the cases where breaches had occurred, and trying to determine how it could be used. [21][22] As of December 18, 2020, while it was definitively known that the Sunburst trojan would have provided suitable access to exploit the VMware bugs, it was not yet definitively known whether attackers had in fact chained those two exploits in the wild. ", "Suspected Russian hack: Was it an epic cyber attack or spy operation? [119], On October 22, 2020, CISA and the FBI identified the Microsoft zerologon attacker as Berserk Bear, a state-sponsored group believed to be part of Russia's FSB. [105][106][107] FireEye was believed to be a target of the SVR, Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service. (14 December 2020). "[250][251] U.S. [66][138][89] Possible future uses could include attacks on hard targets like the CIA and NSA,[how? But this is a stealthy operation. If you think about data that is only available to the CEO, or data that is only available to IT services, [the attacker would get] all of this data. Homeland Security, thousands of businesses scramble after suspected Russian hack", "Why the US government hack is literally keeping security experts awake at night", "DoJ says SolarWinds hackers breached its Office 365 system and read email", "SolarWinds Likely Hacked at Least One Year Before Breach Discovery", "Suspected Russian hackers spied on U.S. Treasury emails – sources", "EXPLAINER: How bad is the hack that targeted US agencies? [47] The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) advised that affected devices be rebuilt from trusted sources, and that all credentials exposed to SolarWinds software should be considered compromised and should therefore be reset. Solarwinds hack In 2020, a major cyberattack by a group backed by a foreign government penetrated multiple parts of United States federal government, leading to a series of data breaches. Russia was first named in the Washington Post and the New York Times on December 13, on the same day that FireEye and SolarWinds announced the alleged hack. U.S. federal institutions reportedly breached. [226], Senator Ron Wyden called for mandatory security reviews of software used by federal agencies. The WaPo article (the first version of it) was written by Ellen Nakashima, the same writer who “broke” the fake news that the DNC network was breached by Russia in June 2016. [121][122][123], On December 19, U.S. president Donald Trump publicly addressed the attacks for the first time, suggesting without evidence that China, rather than Russia, might be responsible. [71][144] Former Homeland Security Advisor Thomas P. Bossert warned that it could take years to evict the attackers from US networks, leaving them able to continue to monitor, destroy or tamper with data in the meantime. [120], On October 22, 2020, CISA and the FBI identified the Microsoft zerologon attacker as Berserk Bear, a state-sponsored group believed to be part of Russia's FSB. [102], Separately, in or shortly before October 2020, Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center reported that an apparently state-sponsored attacker had been observed exploiting zerologon, a vulnerability in Microsoft's NetLogon protocol. ", "SolarWinds hackers accessed Microsoft source code, the company says", "Here's why it's so dangerous that SolarWinds hackers accessed Microsoft's source code", "Software Giant Admits That SolarWinds Hackers Viewed Microsoft Source Code", "Microsoft Says SolarWinds Hackers Also Broke Into Company's Source Code", "SolarWinds, Solorigate, and what it means for Windows updates", "Microsoft says SolarWinds hackers were able to view its source code but didn't have the ability to modify it", "Critical Microsoft Defender Bug Actively Exploited; Patch Tuesday Offers 83 Fixes", "Email security firm Mimecast says hackers hijacked its products to spy on customers", "Mimecast Discloses Certificate Incident Possibly Related to SolarWinds Hack", "Mimecast Certificate Hacked in Microsoft Email Supply-Chain Attack", "SolarWinds attackers suspected in Microsoft authentication compromise", "Mimecast may also have been a victim of the SolarWinds hack campaign", "SolarWinds Hackers' Attack on Email Security Company Raises New Red Flags", "Microsoft to quarantine compromised SolarWinds binaries tomorrow", "Grid regulator warns utilities of risk of SolarWinds backdoor, asks how exposed they are", "SolarWinds hides list of high-profile customers after devastating hack", "iTWire - Backdoored Orion binary still available on SolarWinds website", "Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against SolarWinds Over Hack", "Ah, right on time: Hacker-slammed SolarWinds sued by angry shareholders", "SolarWinds Taps Firm Started by Ex-CISA Chief Chris Krebs, Former Facebook CSO Alex Stamos", "SolarWinds defense: How to stop similar attacks", "Potentially major hack of government agencies disclosed", "US government agencies, including Treasury, hacked; Russia possible culprit", "US vows 'swift action' if defense networks hit by alleged Russia hack", "FBI, CISA, ODNI Describe Response to SolarWinds Attack", "U.S. cyber agency says SolarWinds hackers are 'impacting' state, local governments", "Intel chairman Rubio says 'America must retaliate' after massive cyber hack", "Pompeo Says Russia 'Pretty Clearly' Behind Cyberattack, Prompting Pushback From Trump", "Lawmakers want more transparency on SolarWinds breach from State, VA", "Veterans Affairs Officials Inexplicably Blow Off Briefing on SolarWinds Hack", "Hacking campaign targeted US energy, treasury and commerce agencies", Trump downplays Russia in first comments on hacking campaign, Trump Downplays Huge Hack Tied to Russia, Suggests China, "Former US cybersecurity chief Chris Krebs warned not to 'conflate' voting system security with SolarWinds hack despite Trump's claim", "Trump downplays impact of massive hacking, questions Russia involvement", "Russia Could Fake Government Emails After SolarWinds Hack: Ex-Trump Adviser Thomas Bossert", 'They potentially have the capacity to cripple us': Romney raises alarm about cyberattack tied to Russia, "Biden chief of staff says hack response will go beyond 'just sanctions, "Biden Says Hack of U.S. Shows Trump Failed at Cybersecurity", "Trump must blame Russia for cyber attack on U.S., Biden says", "Biden to Restore Homeland Security and Cybersecurity Aides to Senior White House Posts", "SolarWinds: UK assessing impact of hacking campaign", "UK organisations using SolarWinds Orion platform should check whether personal data has been affected", "CSE warns companies to check IT systems following SolarWinds hack - CBC News", "Explainer-U.S. government hack: espionage or act of war? [89][4][100], Vulnerabilities in VMware Access and VMware Identity Manager, allowing existing network intruders to pivot and gain persistence, were utilized in 2020 by Russian state-sponsored attackers. The SolarWinds hack is among the most ambitious cyber operations ever disclosed, compromising at least half-a-dozen federal agencies and potentially thousands of companies and other institutions. [159][76][160] The FBI, CISA, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) formed a Cyber Unified Coordination Group (UCG) to coordinate their efforts. "[231] Biden said he has instructed his transition team to study the breach, will make cybersecurity a priority at every level of government, and will identify and penalize the attackers. [242] Law professor Jack Goldsmith wrote that the hack was a damaging act of cyber-espionage but "does not violate international law or norms" and wrote that "because of its own practices, the U.S. government has traditionally accepted the legitimacy of foreign governmental electronic spying in U.S. government networks. ][3] or using blackmail to recruit spies. Trump then pivoted to insisting that he had won the 2020 presidential election. ", United States federal government data breach, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=2020_United_States_federal_government_data_breach&oldid=1002334779, Short description is different from Wikidata, All Wikipedia articles written in American English, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from December 2020, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, United States, United Kingdom, Spain, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Mexico, others, U.S. federal government, state and local governments, and private sector, Court documents, including sealed case files, Before October 2019 (start of supply chain compromise), March 2020 (possible federal breach start date), This page was last edited on 23 January 2021, at 23:11. Company was co-founded by Krebs SolarWinds supply chain attack pending the outcome of investigations this is a huge espionage. Oklahoma, and software distribution infrastructure in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and information technology infrastructure senator Richard J. 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