They injected malware that would give them widespread access to computer systems after government agencies and corporations installed the updates. From there, they were able to build “back doors” that allowed them to come and go, steal data, and – although it doesn’t seem to have happened yet – modify data or carry out destructive attacks.
“This was a very common cybersecurity event,” said Brad Smith, president of Microsoft Corporation, in an interview Thursday evening. “And I would argue that this is more than just spying, it’s creating a broad vulnerability in the supply chain that requires a different kind of response. It has created a vulnerability to the world in a way that other spying techniques do not. “
Mr. Smith called it “a moment of reckoning”.
While Mr Trump began his tenure with a strong cybersecurity team in the White House, his third national security adviser, John R. Bolton, ousted them and eliminated the post of cyber czar with direct access to the president. The new National Defense Approval Act, which Mr Trump threatens to veto for other reasons, would re-create such a post. This is one of several recommendations from a non-partisan Cyberspace Solarium Commission that issued a report earlier this year before the Russian attack became known.
But up to Mr Pompeo, who runs the C.I.A. for the first two years of the Trump administration, made his assessment in one Interview on “The Mark Levin Show“The government had all but ignored the attack in public – perhaps realizing that a government that took office after Russia interfered in the 2016 elections was leaving as a victim of one of Russia’s best-performing cyberattacks.
“This has been a very significant effort,” said Pompeo, adding, “we’re still unwrapping exactly what it is.” He said he expected most of the details to be kept secret.
He didn’t mention that the hackers had come to his own place of work – the State Department – nor did he say whether they were just in unclassified rooms. Nor did he mention the fact that the Treasury Department and American nuclear laboratories like Los Alamos were hit.
“We haven’t been able to scare off the Russians,” said Delaware Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat close to Mr. Biden, on Thursday. “We’ll see Putin stop this action if we stop him,” he said. “It’s just as aggressive for our intelligence and military systems as anything in my life.”