The State Department has shut down its entire email system in order for technicians to repair possible damage caused by a hacker attack.
Sunday, a senior department official said there was an “activity of concern” detected in the system at around the same time as an incident reported to have happened in the White House computer network. The incident regarding the White House was made public in October but no indication of it also affecting the State Department was made. Since that time, numerous agencies, including the National Weather Service and the U.S. Postal Service have reported hacker attacks.
Friday, the White House and State Department networks have been compromised and their platforms went offline. After the hacking attempt, maintenance was being performed and employees were not able to access emails or any public sites.
None of the classified systems in the State Department were affected said the official. He said the department shut down its email system on Friday in order of making improvements to its unclassified computer network as part of a scheduled outage of some of the department’s systems connected to the internet. The official spoke anonymously as he or she was not authorized to speak of the matter by name.
“The department recently detected activity of concern in portions of its unclassified email system. There was no compromise of any of the department’s classified systems.”
The department official said.
According to the official, the department all of its systems to operate as normal in the future, but the department would not discuss who might be connected to the security breach. Chinese and Russian attackers were previously blamed on for earlier attacks, even though their origin has never been confirmed to the public.
The State Department believes hackers by a nation state, China or Russia, were responsible for compromising the networks of the State Department and White House. China was connected and involved, albeit indirectly, in numerous scandals regarding hacking, including the celebrity photo leak on iCloud.
Once the improvements on the security of the systems have been completed Tuesday or today, the State Department is expected to address the shutdown.