The Defense Department acknowledged Friday it was the victim of a serpentine internet infringement, allegedly the craft of Russian computer experts.
The late-July intrusion came in the form of a “spear-phishing attack,” in which the infiltrator delivers e-mails originating from individuals or businesses the intended target recognizes as friendly. “Spear-phishing” attacks are most commonly used to penetrate bank accounts, financial records or passwords.
Reported by CNN in late July, the cable-news network cited a Pentagon source as suggesting the attack had “the hallmark” of a foreign government but that U.S. officials were not certain.
An unnamed Pentagon spokesperson declined to name the Russian government as the perpetrator; however, the spokesperson stated: “It was clearly the work of a state actor.”
The Pentagon also emphasized the attack did not yield classified information, but personal, non-secure e-mail accounts had been penetrated.
Once the attack was discovered, the Defense Department reported both the entire Joint Staff unclassified e-mail system and Internet service was temporarily interrupted for routine security maintenance. The Pentagon expects the service to be re-activated by the end of the week.
[CNN] [USA Today]