White House Hit With Cyberattack

But no harm was done, official says

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 1, 2012 7:43 AM CDT

(Newser) – The White House is confirming it was hit by a cyberattack, possibly from China, but the official who confirmed the attempt insists it was not serious. The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website, first reported the attack last night, claiming that hackers linked to the Chinese government broke into a highly sensitive computer network in the White House Military Office used to house nuclear commands. But while the White House confirmed the attempted hack to Politico—which notes that it was without being asked—it said only an unclassified network was affected and that no harm had been done and no data was stolen during the "isolated" attack.

Further, the "spear phishing" attack—in which hackers attempt to get a recipient to download malware via an email using familiar phrases—did not even attempt to breach a classified system, the White House official said. The Free Beacon, on the other hand, called the cyberattack "one of Beijing's most brazen" against the US. It claimed, citing anonymous officials, the attack occurred last month, and said that it "highlights a failure of the Obama administration to press China on its persistent cyber attacks." Past Free Beacon reports have also sought to cast Obama as weak on defense, Politico notes, including one report about a Russian nuclear attack submarine supposedly patrolling near the US. The Navy firmly denied that report.

This Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012 photo shows the White House in Washington, as President Barack Obama campaigns out of town.
This Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012 photo shows the White House in Washington, as President Barack Obama campaigns out of town.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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