The massive cyberattack, attributed to Russia in the United States, targeted information systems used by senior officials in the US Treasury Department, and it is likely that hackers have managed to get hold of basic encryption keys, according to what a US senator announced Monday.
That he took a seat on the Intelligence Committee and a seat on the Senate Finance Committee, at the conclusion of a closed-door meeting, the scale of the attack on the ministry “appears significant.”
Dozens of mail accounts were compromised, the senator confirmed in a statement. He added, “In addition, hackers entered the systems of the Ministry’s Administrative Office Section, which includes its highest officials.” He pointed out that “the ministry is still ignorant of all the steps that the hackers have committed, or the nature of the information that they were able to steal.”
Last week, the US government acknowledged exposure to a massive cyberattack, targeting US government agencies, and attributed a number of senior officials, including Justice Minister Bill Barr and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Russia, but Moscow categorically denied it.
The attack began in March when hackers took advantage of the process of updating the “Solar Windows” surveillance system developed by a company in Texas and used by tens of thousands of companies and administrations around the world.
Among the targeted ministries, foreign affairs, trade, treasury, and internal security, as well as the National Health Centers, officials said, noting their fear that the attack affected other ministries as well.
Wyden said the Internal Tax Agency had not noticed any signs of targeting it or stealing taxpayer data. The senator harshly criticized the government for its lack of preparedness to counter such attacks. He said that the government “was attacked, apparently with the participation of skilled hackers, who stole key codes from servers” of the government. And he denounced that this happened despite warnings from cybersecurity experts, who assert that these codes constitute “for hackers an irresistible target.”