US Joint Chiefs of Staff emails targeted by Russian hackers

Reports say it was the same group that targeted the State Department and White House

The hacking group that targeted unclassified email systems at the U.S. Department of State and the White House is believed to have also compromised a network used by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a body of senior U.S. military leaders.

The email system used by the group was compromised in the last week of July, according to reports by NBC News and the Daily Beast. NBC said it affected around 4,000 staff who work at the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Targets were said to have been sent spear phishing emails -- customized messages that likely appeared to come from trusted contacts with embedded links to documents or other content. When clicked, those links would have resulted in the download of malware that compromised their computers.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff has not said anything publically about the breach, but news reports said investigators believe it to be the work of a Russian hacker group. The same group got inside the State Department's unclassified system last year and also accessed parts of the White House network, gaining access to some correspondence sent and received by President Obama.

Within the U.S. government, classified material is carried on networks physically separate from the Internet and there is no suggestion that these were compromised. Still, access to an unclassified network could still allow attackers to gain access to material that is sensitive.

Last week, the Daily Beast reported that the Department of Defense had warned at least five Department of Defense computer users had been targeted by hackers in recent weeks.

The email apparently came from the National Endowment for Democracy and contained a link to a compromised server on its network where the malware was hosted.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags intrusionsecurityDesktop securitygovernmentmalwareJoint Chiefs of Staff

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?