The U.S. Department of Justice declared its emails accounts were breached by SolarWinds hackers. Their email systems have been accessed by the hackers who broke into the software company SolarWinds, another sign of the severity of the breach that has shaken Washington.
This activity involved access to the Department’s Microsoft Office 365 email environment. The department has more than 100,000 employees across a series of law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the US Marshals Service.
“After detecting the malicious activity, the OCIO eliminated the identified method by which the actor was accessing the Office 365 email environment”, says DOJ spokesperson Marc Raimondi.
Around 3% of the Office 365 mailboxes were potentially accessed by hackers. The report says the Justice Department had no indication that any classified systems were impacted.
“It’s still very bad if they got the contents of 3,000 accounts,” said Taddeo, who at present works as the Chief Information Security Officer for data center firm Cyxtera Technologies.
The Justice Department’s Office of the Chief Information Officer discovered the breach on the day before Christmas, nearly two weeks after Reuters first reported that hackers suspected of acting on Russia’s behalf had broken into US government networks.
Russia has refused responsibility for the hacking campaign, which has been described as one of the most complicated operations revealed in years.
Cybersecurity experts said complete recovery from the breaches could take months or even longer.
“As part of the ongoing technical analysis, the Department has determined that the activity constitutes a major incident under the Federal Information Security Modernization Act, and is taking the steps consistent with that determination.
The Department will continue to notify the appropriate federal agencies, Congress, and the public as warranted.”, according to Marc Raimondi.