U.S. Senator Says Hack On Treasury 'Appears To Be Significant'
December 22, 2020
The U.S. Treasury Department, one of several government agencies targeted in a
massive cyberattack being blamed on Russia, suffered a serious breach "the full
depth of which isn't known," a top senator said on December 21.
Senator Ron Wyden (Democrat-Oregon), the most senior Democrat on the Senate
Finance Committee, issued a statement providing new details about the breach
after being briefed on the hack by the IRS tax agency and Treasury Department.
Wyden said dozens of email accounts at the Treasury Department were compromised,
including at an office division housing the highest-ranking officials. In
addition, the breach appears to have involved the theft of encryption keys from
U.S. government servers, Wyden said.
“Treasury still does not know all of the actions taken by hackers, or precisely
what information was stolen,” Wyden said.
He added that there is no evidence the IRS was compromised or that taxpayer data
“However, the hack of the Treasury Department appears to be significant,” the
Oregon senator said.
It remains unclear what the hackers have done with the information or intend to
do with it.
The Treasury Department is one of a number of known agencies, departments, and
companies affected by what is considered a far encompassing and serious hacking
said that in the Treasury Department’s case the breach began in July. But
cybersecurity experts believe the overall hacking operation began months
The U.S. government and cybersecurity experts are still trying to understand the
full scale of the breach, which began when hackers slipped malicious code into
updates in SolarWinds software used by the government and thousands of
businesses and entities.
Top U.S. officials--including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and outgoing
Attorney General William Barr—have blamed Russian intelligence agency hackers
for the sophisticated operation. Moscow has denied any involvement.
President Donald Trump has downplayed the seriousness and impact of the
cyberattack, while casting doubt on whether Russia is responsible. Instead, he
contradicted his own officials and experts by suggesting China may have been
behind the breach.