The White House Network Hacked Multiple Times
Inside sources claim the attacks originated in China
According to a report from the Financial Times, the unclassified network of the White House has been compromised on several occasions by Chinese hackers. The attackers intercepted and downloaded data circulating on the network, like e-mail conversations between officials.
The attacks were brief, but long enough to allow the hackers to access unclassified data. A senior US official describes the incidents as a cat and mouse game. ”For a short period of time, they successfully breach a wall, and then you rebuild the wall ... it is not as if they have continued access. [...] It is constant cat and mouse,” said the official under the protection of anonymity.
The White House refused to confirm the story, but from what scarce information exists, the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force were the ones who detected the breaches. In addition, Financial Times’ source pointed out to the Chinese intelligence as possible origin of the attack because of the tactics used, but noted that the classified part of the White House network had not been compromised in any way.
This isn’t the first time attacks originating in China have compromised U.S. government systems and networks. It was recently revealed that both the campaign headquarters of Barack Obama and John McCain had been the target of Chinese cyber attacks and large amounts of data regarding planned policies had been copied. “You have a problem way bigger than what you understand,” an FBI agent reportedly told Obama staff members who thought that the source of their problems was a computer virus.
Earlier this year, Chinese hackers systematically attacked the Pentagon network and downloaded data from compromised systems. As a result, e-mails were copied from a system serving the Defense Secretary, Robert Gates, and the network suffered several days of downtime while the technicians patched up the security holes. Some U.S. companies involved in weapon research also reported attacks on their networks that had China as origin.