Updated 10:07 PM EDT, Mon, Oct 26, 2020

State Department Hacked; Email System Shut Down

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On Monday, the U.S. State Department announced that its unclassified email system fell into a cyber attack. According to Reuters, the intrusion occurred in the recent weeks, just around the time when the White House came under a similar situation.

Fortunately, no classified data has been compromised. Engadget reported that the department took the initiative to shut down its entire unclassified email system over the weekend.

The system specifically went down on Friday, said The Register. Reportedly, the shutdown granted technicians time to repair damages and apply further security measures.

Authorities have not confirmed culprits at this point. The Associated Press cited State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke's statement to reporters, "I don't have anything to share at this point on the origins of the intrusion."

Rathke said via the outlet that business databases, such as those containing information about Americans, were not hit.

It also appears that Rathke believed such unfortunate events are expected in large organizations. He said on Voice of America, "The State Department, like any other large organization that has a global span, is a constant target of cyberattacks."

The State Department is looking forward to have its systems restored soon, wrote CNET. The outlet mentioned that the attack was fourth of incidences targeting a government agency. Accordingly, hackers reportedly working for the Russian government had been the subject of suspicion.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is probing into the issue. According to FOX News, an FBI spokesman confirmed that the agency is aware of the attack.

"The compromise of public and private sector systems is something we take very seriously, and the FBI will continue to investigate and hold accountable those who pose a threat in cyberspace," the spokesperson assured.

On the other hand, Chinese government hackers were suspected to man behind the earlier cyber attacks against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The federal agency said via CBS News that four of its websites had been the subject of "internet-sourced attack." Rep. Frank Wolf told the news outlet that NOAA officials believe China was the unknown intruder.

We have also covered the previous United States Postal Service (USPS) hacking, where about 800,000 employees ended up affected. The data compromised were personally-identifying information such as names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, addresses, employment duration dates and emergency contact information. Chinese government hackers were also suspected to have done the deed.

The Register noted that the system is expected to be back and running by Monday or Tuesday.

Visit the official U,S, Department of State website here.

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