The US National Nuclear Security Administration and Energy Department that manages the US stockpile of nuclear weapons have become victims of a cyberattack, compromising their network.
Reported first by Politico, US authorities spotted suspicious activity in the networks of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in Los Alamos, Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico and Washington, the Office of Secure Transportation and the Richland Field Office of the Department of Energy.
People aware of the matter have revealed that hackers have managed to do severe damage to the network at FERC. Shaylyn Hynes, a Department of Energy spokesperson told The Independent that investigation is ongoing, “At this point, the investigation has found that the malware has been isolated to business networks only, and has not impacted the mission-essential national security functions of the department, including the National Nuclear Security Administration.”
She added, “When DOE identified vulnerable software, immediate action was taken to mitigate the risk, and all software identified as being vulnerable to this attack was disconnected from the DOE network.”
Federal authorities have been on alert with respect to this intrusion into the US and other computer systems around the world, which they claim could be caused by Russian hackers.
The US’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has been notified of a ‘grave’ risk to government and private networks as they said that this breach has compromised federal agencies as well as critical infrastructure while describing the attack as difficult to detect and undo.
While the agency hasn’t really revealed which agencies or infrastructure had been compromised by this attack or the kind of information attained by the hackers, however, the attacks can be traced back to March this year.
President-elect Joe Biden said in a statement, “I want to be clear: my administration will make cybersecurity a top priority at every level of government – and we will make dealing with this breach a top priority from the moment we take office.”