Top National Security Agencies Issue Rare Statement on Huge Cyberattack

They say it was likely Russia, rejecting President Trump's assertion
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 6, 2021 2:40 AM CST
Top National Security Agencies Issue Rare Joint Statement on Huge Cyberattack
In this June 14, 2018, file photo, the FBI seal is seen before a news conference at FBI headquarters in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

(Newser) – Top national security agencies confirmed Tuesday that Russia was likely responsible for a massive hack of US government departments and corporations, rejecting President Trump's claim that China might be to blame. The rare joint statement represented the US government's first formal attempt to assign responsibility for the breaches at multiple agencies and to assign a possible motive for the operation, the AP reports. It said the hacks appeared to be intended for “intelligence gathering," suggesting the evidence so far pointed to a Russian spying effort rather than an attempt to damage or disrupt US government operations. The agencies made clear the Russian operation was “ongoing” and indicated the hunt for threats was not over.

“This is a serious compromise that will require a sustained and dedicated effort to remediate,” said the statement, distributed by the FBI, the National Security Agency, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. It was not clear why the statement was issued Tuesday, especially since government officials and cybersecurity experts have for weeks believed that Russia was responsible. Even so, the announcement puts the imprimatur of national security agencies, albeit belatedly, on information that members of Congress had clamored for the White House to make public. (Much more here.)

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