As Trump remains silent, SolarWinds hack increasingly looks like an act of war

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A Trump administration official told Axios that the cyberattack on the US government and US businesses, apparently by Russia, looks worse by the day – and secrets can still be stolen in ways that haven’t not yet discovered.
The big picture: “We still don’t know the bottom of the well,” the official said. Surprisingly, the breach dates back to at least March and continued throughout the election. The US government only sounded the alarm this Sunday. The damage assessment could take months.

Microsoft President Brad Smith told the NY Times that at least 40 companies, government agencies and think tanks had been infiltrated.

  • The hack is known violating the departments of Defense, State, Homeland Security, Treasury, Commerce and Energy and its National Administration of Nuclear Security – as well as the National Institutes of Health.
  • 8 pays: Microsoft, which helped respond to the breach, said in a statement that 80% of its 40 customers known to have been targeted are in the United States, along with others in the United Kingdom, Israel, the Emirates. Arab Emirates, Canada, Mexico, Belgium and Spain.

In unusually lively language for a bureaucracy, the United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, part of Homeland Security, said yesterday that the intruder “displayed sophistication and complex know-how.”

  • The agency declared the breach “Poses a serious risk to federal and state, local, tribal and territorial governments as well as critical infrastructure entities and other private sector organizations.” “

If it had been a physical attack on America’s secrets, we could be at war.

  • Imagine and during the Cold War, the Soviet Union broke into a building in Washington and came out with correspondence, budgets and more.
  • Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) Told Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC: “It’s pretty hard to distinguish that from an act of aggression that reaches the level of an attack qualified as war. … [T]It is as destructive and large-scale an engagement with our military systems, our intelligence systems as it has happened in my lifetime. ”

Gravity was not immediately obvious because it was not the “cyber Pearl Harbor” that the experts warned about: no one took off the electricity grid, nor stole a lot of money, nor destabilized the markets.

  • Instead of, it’s more like someone has been walking in and out of your house for months and you don’t really know what they took.
  • And they may have built a secret door. “For someone to have access for that long, that’s that sophisticated, there’s a good chance they’ve built other ways in that are hard to find,” one manager told me.

And after: President Trump has been silent on the hack, which means President-elect Biden’s inbox overflow now includes Russian retaliation, damage mitigation and future deterrence.

  • Promise to impose “Substantial costs” to the author, Biden said in a statement that his administration “will make cybersecurity a top priority”: “I will not stand idly by in the face of cyber attacks on our nation.”

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