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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that a cyberattack that compromised federal agencies and critical infrastructure this week was “pretty clearly” the work of Russia.
“[T]here was a significant effort to use a piece of third-party software to essentially embed code inside of U.S. Government systems and now, it appears, systems of private companies and companies and governments across the world as well,” Pompeo said in an appearance on the Mark Levin Show.
“This was a very significant effort, and I think it’s the case that now we can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians that engaged in this activity,” he added.
Pompeo’s comments are the first by any Trump administration official publicly connecting the Kremlin with what one U.S. official has called “the worst hacking case in the history of America.”
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said Thursday that federal agencies and “critical infrastructure” had been compromised in a sophisticated attack that was hard to detect and will be difficult to undo.
CISA previously said the attack had been carried out using network-management software from the Texas-based company SolarWinds to infiltrate computer networks, though it has since said the perpetrators may have used other methods as well.
The U.S. State Department, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and facets of the Department of Defense have reported being affected by the hack, which may have lasted months.
“At this point, the investigation has found that the malware has been isolated to business networks only, and has not impacted the mission-essential national-security functions of the Department, including the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA),” Department of Energy Spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes told Fox News.
More than 40 government agencies, think tanks, non-governmental organizations and IT companies were infiltrated by the attack, according to Microsoft, which has helped respond to the hack. The attack hit a number of organizations in Canada, Mexico, Belgium, Spain, the United Kingdom Israel, and the United Arab Emirates, as well, according to the tech giant.