Russian hackers are suspected of a major cyber attack against some of America’s most prominent federal prosecutor work email accounts in 2020.
The U.S. Department of Justice confirmed 80 percent of employee Microsoft email accounts were hacked. The breaches affected four U.S. attorney offices in New York. At least one employee’s email account was targeted in 27 different U.S. attorney offices.
The so-called SolarWinds breach occurred between May 7 and Dec. 27, 2020. They infiltrated dozens of commercial firms, think tanks, and at least nine federal government institutions.
The Biden administration repeatedly made unverified claims of Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election. One theory is Russia masterminded the cyber attacks, following the expulsion of Russian diplomats from the United States. The Russian government denies any wrongdoing on its part.
Former federal prosecutor Jennifer Rodgers (N.Y.) claimed her office emails used to routinely contain all kinds of sensitive material. This included case strategy conversations and the identities of secret informants.
“I do not remember ever having someone bring me a document instead of emailing it to me because of security concerns,” she said according to CBS News.
The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts revealed it was also hacked back in January. BL understands this gave SolarWinds hackers another access point to acquire sensitive data. This includes trade secrets, espionage targets, whistleblower reports, and arrest warrants.
Several big and well-known offices were also targeted in Los Angeles, Miami, Washington, and the Eastern District of Virginia.
The Southern and Eastern Districts of New York handle some of the country’s most high-profile cases. This is due to the disproportionate number of employees killed.
“New York is the financial center of the world, and those districts are particularly well known for investigating and prosecuting white-collar crimes and other cases, including investigating people close to the former president,” Fordham Law School professor Bruce Green said according to the broadcaster.
DOJ revealed all potential cyber attack victims have been contacted. The department was still trying to reduce the hack’s “operational, security, and privacy risks” at the time of publication.
DOJ previously announced it found no evidence of secret systems being compromised. The department refused to provide further information.
A growing number of lawmakers have expressed disappointment with the Biden administration for failing to disclose more details on the SolarWinds campaign’s full impact.