The Big electronic espionage … The US National Security Council is studying response options, and Moscow denies the accusations

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US National Security Adviser Robert C. O’Brien chaired, on Tuesday and this morning, meetings of the council to deal with the “massive” electronic espionage that targeted sensitive institutions, including the Ministries of Defense and Treasury. On the other hand, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that his country had not received Washington’s request regarding accusations that his country was behind the recent cyber-attack.

Reuters quoted a senior US administration official as saying that the National Security Adviser cut short a visit to Europe to return and returned to Washington in order to coordinate the response to the cyber breach that targeted several institutions in the United States this week.

The New York Times quoted sources as saying that some sections of the US Defense Department were among the agencies that hackers had penetrated.

In turn, the Hill website attributed a Pentagon spokesman as saying that the Pentagon is aware of these reports and is currently assessing the damage.

The “Washington Post” reported that the State Department and the National Institutes of Health had become the latest federal agencies exposed to a sophisticated espionage operation. The newspaper said that the list of cyber espionage victims is expected to increase, including the ministries of Treasury, Trade and Homeland Security, and private companies.

Russian Pirates

And American security sources said – earlier – that groups of Russian pirates, affiliated with the Russian security services, are responsible for a large-scale infiltration operation against American targets.

Reuters reported that a group of senators from the Democratic and Republican parties sent a letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) directors and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency of the Ministry of Interior. In the letter, lawmakers requested a report on the broad scope of the cyber attack, which was exposed to governmental and private institutions.

For his part, Mark Warner, the senior Democrat in the Senate Intelligence Committee, held Russia responsible for the recent cyber attacks on some US institutions.

Warner praised – during an interview with CNN – the cybersecurity agency director, the article, Chris Krebs, and expressed concern that President Donald Trump did not condemn what he described as “Russian actions.”

For his part, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo emphasized that Russia’s use of cyberattacks against the United States is a constant and frequent matter. In a radio interview, he said that Russia had tried to interfere in the 2008, 2012, and 2016 elections. He pointed out that his country worked to stop it in 2020 and urged it to stop carrying out these “malicious” activities, adding that this matter constituted a real challenge.

Advanced attacks

Former US National Security Adviser John Bolton said the recent cyberattacks targeting various federal agencies appear to have been sophisticated and highly successful. In an interview with “CNN,” he added that the relevant authorities would not reveal to the public the extent of the damage caused by the attacks on these agencies. He also indicated that what happened represents a challenge to Joe Biden’s President future administration.

The Wall Street Journal said that computer systems in a large number of US government agencies had been subjected to breaches, adding that the hackers have planted an electronic virus in one of the computers of the “SolarWindows” company specialized in managing networks.

Among its clients are susceptible federal departments, such as the Secret Security Service charged with protecting the US President, the Pentagon, the Federal Reserve, Lockheed Martin for Military Industries, and the National Security Agency.

Following the occurrence of this major breach, the US Agency for Information Security issued an urgent directive to all federal institutions to cut off electrical power to all Solar Windows computers.

Russian response

On the other hand, the Russian foreign minister said that his country had not received any official request from Washington regarding accusations of being behind the recent cyberpiracy attacks. And he considered in a press conference in the Croatian capital Zagreb that the choice of some Western countries to direct accusations in this way to his country, through the media, is evidence of the absence of ethical standards and the skills of diplomatic work there, as he put it.

The spokesman for the Russian presidency (Kremlin), Dmitry Peskov, previously denied US accusations of being behind the recent cyber attacks. He said that the Americans continue to press charges against the Russians for all acts targeting them.

Source : US Press and Agencies

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