The attack of “elite Russian hackers” who gained access to the computers of U.S. federal agencies has revealed weaknesses in the cybersecurity of the U.S. government. Former U.S. Director of Counterintelligence William Evanina spoke to The Associated Press about the alleged system vulnerabilities the Russians uncovered.
He explained that hackers didn’t need to hack into the system to get in on their own: instead, they infiltrated the supply chain and succeeded in getting spyware on computers at a number of government agencies after an upgrade. Evanina compared the current system to a construction site with many subcontractors: it is enough for only one of them to be unreliable to fail.
“We will have to find a solution to this problem, not only for America as the largest economy in the world, but for the entire planet,” the agency quoted him as saying. According to Evanin, counterintelligence has been warning about the dangers of this problem for years, but neither the government nor private companies have given it the attention it deserves.
On Dec. 13, Reuters reported that Russian hackers allegedly attacked the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and gained access to internal communications at the agency. The attack was part of a campaign that also hacked the systems of the U.S. Treasury Department and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Moscow rejects accusations of hacking attacks on U.S. agencies and considers them unfounded.