Russian Hackers Got a Look at Obama’s Emails

His account appears safe, but not those with whom he communicated
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2015 7:29 AM CDT
Russian Hackers Got a Look at Obama’s Emails
President Obama holds up his BlackBerry after he forgot it and returned to the White House to retrieve it, Friday, Nov. 21, 2014.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Russian hackers got a peek at a bit more than President Obama's schedule when they hacked the White House's unclassified network late last year: They got a look at his emails, sources tell the New York Times. While Obama's email account, which is linked to his BlackBerry and is held on the White House's classified network, doesn't appear to have been touched, the email archives of those with whom he communicated, both inside and perhaps outside the White House, were breached. The hackers got deep into the State Department's unclassified network, and the breaches raise the issue of whether it's even possible to secure a president's online presence, notes the Times.

"This has been one of the most sophisticated actors we’ve seen," says a senior official briefed on the investigation. And while the Times notes that Chinese hackers will swipe vast troves of data, Russians "tend to hide their tracks better and focus on specific, often political targets." Indeed, the hack came as tensions simmered between Washington and the Kremlin over the latter's meddling in Ukraine, and though the White House isn't blaming the Russians publicly—unlike the Sony hack it blamed on North Korea—another senior official says, "it’s the Russian angle to this that’s particularly worrisome." (Read more President Obama stories.)

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