Sen. Marco Rubio says the attack on nation’s computer networks is close to ‘an act of war’
There was a massive cyberattack on a wide array of U.S. networks recently, including systems used by the National Nuclear Security Administration and Energy Department that safeguard the nation’s stockpile of nuclear weapons.
They found suspicious activity in networks belonging to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories in New Mexico and Washington, the Office of Secure Transportation at NNSA, and the Richland Field Office of the DOE.
The hackers have been able to do more damage at FERC than the other agencies, and officials there have evidence of highly malicious activity, the officials said, but did not elaborate.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that Russia was behind the widespread attack of these networks.
Mr. Pompeo is the first member of the Trump administration to publicly link the Kremlin to the cyberattack, which used a variety of sophisticated tools to infiltrate dozens of government and private systems, including nuclear laboratories, the Pentagon, and the Treasury and Commerce Departments.
“I think it’s the case that now we can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians that engaged in this activity,” Mr. Pompeo said in an interview on “The Mark Levin Show.”
“This was a very significant effort,” he said, adding that “we’re still unpacking precisely what it is.”
The cyberattack occurred through the hacking of SolarWinds codes.
SolarWinds, the IT company whose product was targeted in the hack, said that nearly 18,000 of its customers received a software update tainted with malware, beginning in March. The malicious code operated as a kind of Trojan horse, enabling hackers to stealthily access the systems of the affected agencies and companies.
The cyberattack operated undetected for months and reportedly hit multiple government agencies, including the State Department, the Pentagon, the Treasury Department and the Department of Homeland Security.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency on Thursday acknowledged that the hack “poses a grave risk” to federal, state and local governments across the country — but refrained from directly attributing blame.
Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio demanded retaliation against the hackers responsible for the massive cyber security breach.
“The methods used to carry out the cyberhack are consistent with Russian cyber operations,” Rubio, acting chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said in a tweet. “But it’s crucial we have complete certainty about who is behind this. We can’t afford to be wrong on attribution, because America must retaliate, and not just with sanctions.”
…Rubio said the attack is close to “an act of war” in an interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham Thursday night.
“You saw the bulletin tonight, it went out, it’s a grave risk to federal, to state, to local governments, to critical infrastructure, to the private sector,” Rubio said. “And as far as attribution, when you attribute it to somebody, you have got to know it for sure because it’s a very — this is almost, I would argue — an act of war, absolutely.”
The methods used to carry out the cyberhack are consistent with Russian cyber operations.
But it’s crucial we have complete certainty about who is behind this.
We can’t afford to be wrong on attribution, because America must retaliate, and not just with sanctions.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) December 18, 2020
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