Microsoft said that on Thursday the far-reaching Russian cyber attack of US government agencies and private companies went further into its network than the company had previously revealed.
While the hackers, who are believed to work for the Russian SVR intelligence agency, did not appear to be using Microsoft’s systems to attack other victims, they were able to view Microsoft source code by hacking into an employee account.
Microsoft previously said the attack, which compromised dozens of federal agencies as well as businesses, was not breached. Microsoft said its subsequent investigation revealed that the hackers could not access email or their products and services, and that they could not change the source code displayed.
The Russian attack, which may continue, appears to have started as early as October 2019. It was then that hackers first injured a Texas company called SolarWinds, which provides network monitoring services to government agencies and 425 of the Fortune 500 companies. Commerce, Treasury, State and Energy departments were injured in the attack. how was FireEye, a top cybersecurity firm that first exposed the breach this month.
Investigators are still trying to understand what hackers stole, but research by FireEye, Microsoft, Amazon, and other companies has shown that the scope of the attack may be much larger than originally thought. Last week, CrowdStrike, a FireEye competitor, announced that it had been unsuccessfully attacked by the same attackers. In this case, The hackers used Microsoft resellersCompanies that sell software on behalf of Microsoft to attempt to access these systems.
The Department of Homeland Security has confirmed that SolarWinds was one of several ways the Russians attacked American agencies, tech and cybersecurity companies.
President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has accused President Trump downplaying the hack. Mr. Trump has privately called the attack a “joke”. In public he has suggested that China, not Russia, may have been the culprit – a finding that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has denied.
This is a developing story and will be updated.