US Justice Department Confirms It Was Victim of SolarWinds Hack
January 7, 2021
The U.S. Department of Justice confirmed on Wednesday that it had been the
victim of a massive hacking operation linked to Russian intelligence.
In a statement, Justice Department spokesman Marc Raimondi said about 3% of the
agency’s email accounts appeared to have been compromised, although no
classified information was accessed.
“After learning of the malicious activity, the Office of Chief Information
Officer eliminated the identified method by which the actor was accessing the
... email environment,” Raimondi said.
Raimondi said the department learned about the previously unknown hack on its
networks on Christmas Eve and determined that it constituted a “major” security
The disclosure came a day after U.S. intelligence agencies said that the hack
was part of an ongoing intelligence operation and likely being carried out by
The hack came to light in early December when private cybersecurity firm FireEye
disclosed that its networks had been compromised. Investigators have traced the
breach to SolarWinds, a Texas-based network management software company that the
hackers used to penetrate the computer networks.
In a statement Tuesday, the FBI, the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security
Agency (CISA), the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), and
the National Security Agency (NSA) said that of the approximately 18,000
SolarWinds customers impacted by the hack, “a much smaller number has been
compromised by follow-on activity on their systems.”
have so far identified fewer than 10 U.S. government agencies that fall into
this category and are working to identify the nongovernment entities who also
may be impacted,” the agencies said.
Officials had previously confirmed that the departments of Defense, Treasury,
State, Homeland Security, Commerce and Energy were impacted. Among targeted
businesses were Microsoft and Amazon.
U.S. President Donald Trump has faced criticism for failing to respond to the
alleged Russian hacking operation and for suggesting that China may have been
The National Security Council has set up a task force made up of intelligence
agencies to investigate and remediate the attack.
“At this time, we believe this was, and continues to be, an intelligence
gathering effort,” the agencies said in a statement. “We are taking all
necessary steps to understand the full scope of this campaign and respond