“Hackers linked to China’s government broke into one of the U.S. government’s most sensitive computer networks, breaching a system used by the White House Military Office for nuclear commands, according to defense and intelligence officials familiar with the incident.”
It then went on to say:
“One official said the cyber breach was one of Beijing’s most brazen cyber attacks against the United States and highlights a failure of the Obama administration to press China on its persistent cyber attacks.”
I’ll have an order of brazen cyber attacks with a side of partisan silliness, please.
The White House was quick to downplay the significance of the attack. Yes, the attack was aimed at the White House Military Office (WHMO), the folks in charge of sensitive communications, including systems that can send and authenticate nuclear strike commands. Several unidentified sources assured several very identified news outlets that the spear phishing attack was unsuccessful, and it was aimed at an “unclassified system.”
Oh, and BTW, the attack took place a month ago and the Beacon and Fox News are the only ones claiming it was of Chinese origin. (Not that anyone would be surprised if it was.)
Apparently the White House fell victim to the powerful, cutting-edge email-with-a-malicious-attachment attack. Someone forgot to update their anti-malware program, probably.
“Targeted email scams are not new,” says Jason Lewis, chief scientist at Lookingglass. “The timing is interesting considering the cybersecurity executive order that is circulating.”
Why is this attack unlike any of the others that target the WH every day? I’ll let Sophos’s Paul Ducklinanswer that:
“Fox dedicated over 660 words to the Chinese hacking story, but after careful reading it seems pretty clear that the incident, and the story, can be simplified quite significantly.
Here it is in 40 words, for a compression ratio of over 94%:
* A malicious spam from a computer in China reached a single unclassified computer in the White House Communications Agency.
* The computer may or may not have become infected as a result.
* Protection against malware and hackers is a good idea.
You may stand down from any coloured, or even lightly tinted, type of alert.”