US State Dept blocks thousands of hack attacks every day

February 21, 2015

The State Department faces thousands of cyber attacks every day, a top US official said Friday, refusing to confirm that hackers who breached their system in November were reportedly still lurking in the network.

"We have robust security to protect our computer systems and our information, which includes access to an unclassified, open-net system," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

But she acknowledged the attacks on an increasing list of public and private institutions were growing more sophisticated.

"We deal successfully with thousands of attacks every day, and we deal with them in conjunction with other relevant government agencies," Psaki said.

The Wall Street Journal reported that three months after the November breach forced the State Department to shut down its unclassified email network, the government had not been able to evict the hackers from the system.

Sources told the business daily that "each time investigators find a hacker tool and block it, the intruders tweak it slightly to attempt to sneak past defenses."

The original attack appeared to have been linked to the Russian government, and the hackers had taken State emails related to the crisis in Ukraine, the sources told the Journal.

Psaki refused to confirm or reveal any details, adding only "we work every day to fight back on these attacks and take a number of steps."

The Journal's report comes a week afer President Barack Obama led a cybersecurity summit at Stanford University and called on Silicon Valley to put aside distrust of the government to become allies in defending cyberspace from terrorists, and spies.

He also signed an executive order aimed at spurring better and faster sharing of between the private sector and government.

"This has to be a shared mission," Obama said.

Explore further: Obama brings tech firms into his cybersecurity push

Related Stories

Hackers breach White House computer system

October 29, 2014

The White House's unclassified computer network was recently breached by intruders, a US official said Tuesday, with The Washington Post newspaper reporting that the Russian government was thought to be behind the act.

Obama calls on Silicon Valley to help thwart cyber attacks

February 13, 2015

Cyberspace is the new "Wild West," President Barack Obama said Friday, with everyone looking to the government to be the sheriff. But he told the private sector it must do more to stop cyber attacks aimed at the U.S. every ...

Recommended for you

Privacy becomes a selling point at tech show

January 7, 2019

Apple is not among the exhibitors at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show, but that didn't prevent the iPhone maker from sending a message to attendees on a large billboard.

China's Huawei unveils chip for global big data market

January 7, 2019

Huawei Technologies Ltd. showed off a new processor chip for data centers and cloud computing Monday, expanding into new and growing markets despite Western warnings the company might be a security risk.

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

alfie_null
not rated yet Feb 21, 2015
Sources told the business daily that "each time investigators find a hacker tool and block it, the intruders tweak it slightly to attempt to sneak past defenses."

Probably they haven't yet been willing to take steps that would also inconvenience the users.

Whatever software you guys in the State Department are using for the mail server - switch to something else - another product from another source, completely unrelated. Ditto the client mail readers. Oh yes, the operating system too.
JoeBlue
not rated yet Feb 21, 2015
Aren't they all running Macs now?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.