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US State Department hit by cyber attack, perpetrators unknown: Report

The headquarters of the U.S. State Department at the Harry S. Truman Building. (AgnosticPreachersKid/ Wikimedia Commons)

The US State Department was hit by a cyberattack this month, local media reported last Saturday, adding that the United States Department of Defense Cyber Command has notified of a possible “serious breach”. However, the exact extent of the cyber breach and the suspected perpetrators behind the attack still remain unclear, according to the reports.

The US cyber attack story was first reported by Jacqui Henrich, the White House correspondent for Fox News, who said that the breach is believed to have occurred “a couple weeks ago”. Citing a person familiar with the development, the journalist reported that the US State Department’s ongoing mission to evacuate Americans and allied refugees in Afghanistan has, however, not been affected in any manner. According to the Fox News reporter’s tweet thread, the exact extent of the breach, the investigation into the suspected entity behind it, the efforts being taken to mitigate it and any ongoing risk to operations still remain unclear.

Moreover, the Fox News reporter said that a department of state spokesperson told her that the officials are currently “not in a position to discuss the nature or scope of any alleged cybersecurity incidents at this time” for ‘security reasons’. “The department takes seriously its responsibility to safeguard its information and continuously takes steps to ensure information is protected,” the government spokesperson added, according to the reporter.

The same statement was also relayed on part of the government to the CNBC media network when the latter tried to contact the Department of State for a quote on the alleged cyber attack incident.

However, the Reuters news agency reported that a “knowledgable source”, without confirming any incident, said that the US State Department has not experienced significant disruptions and has not had its operations impeded in any way.

Notably, members from the US Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee released a bipartisan report earlier this month which stated that none of the eight federal agencies that were reviewed for security had met even the basic cybersecurity standards and protocols to secure the personal identification information of Americans as well as equipment and programs on the agency’s networks.

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(c) 2021 the Hindustan Times

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