The U.S. State Dept. has closed down its unclassified email system after a suspected attack by hackers. The agency is now beefing up cyber-security in the wake of that attack.
Email system shut down
On Friday, officials with the State Dept. said they took down the email system after they detected suspicious activity in the unclassified system. However, they did not detect any suspicious activity in the classified email system.
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Nextgov.com cites an unnamed source who said that the breach of the State Dept.’s email system came at the same time as the breach of the White House’s systems, which happened last month. The unnamed official also said that they are conducting maintenance that has resulted in access to some State employees’ public websites and unclassified emails being disrupted.
They expect the systems to be back up and running soon, however, as the maintenance could be completed by today or tomorrow.
Multiple U.S. agencies breached
Several government agencies’ systems have been compromised by backers recently. One of the other government agencies that recently had its systems breached by hackers is the U.S. Postal Service. Hackers also breached the network of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
In the case of the cyber-attack on the USPS, there were questions about exactly what the hackers may have gained by accessing the information they did. Officials said they probably stole the personal information of USPS employees, including their names, addresses and social security numbers.
They said there were no signs that consumer credit card information was stole in the attack. Officials said the hackers didn’t appear to be interested in identity theft or credit card fraud. However, analysts said Chinese hackers may simply be targeting U.S. federal agencies, possibly believing that the USPS is similar to China’s own postal service, which stores massive amounts of information about all of the nation’s citizens.
Hackers remain anonymous
It was believed that government-backed hackers from China were to blame, although in some other cases, some claimed that Russian hackers were responsible for some of the cyber-attacks on U.S. government agencies. However, there’s been no official word on who is actually responsible for the attacks.
Russian officials have called the allegations made against hackers from their country “groundless” and said that they won’t “take them seriously any longer unless there’s proof.”