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Despite one administration national security official’s assertion, a defense official said there are concerns that the attackers were able to breach the classified network.
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Chinese Hackers Break In to
White House Military Office Network

Washington Free Beacon
Hackers linked to China’s government broke into one of the US 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.

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...

US officials familiar with reports of the White House hacking incident said it took place earlier this month and involved unidentified hackers, believed to have used computer servers in China, who accessed the computer network used by the White House Military Office (WHMO), the president’s military office in charge of some of the government’s most sensitive communications, including strategic nuclear commands. The office also arranges presidential communications and travel, and inter-government teleconferences involving senior policy and intelligence officials.

An Obama administration national security official said: “This was a spear phishing attack against an unclassified network.”

Spear phishing is a cyber attack that uses disguised emails that seek to convince recipients of a specific organization to provide confidential information. Spear phishing in the past has been linked to China and other states with sophisticated cyber warfare capabilities.

The official described the type of attack as “not infrequent” and said there were unspecified “mitigation measures in place.”

“In this instance the attack was identified, the system was isolated, and there is no indication whatsoever that any exfiltration of data took place,” the official said.

The official said there was no impact or attempted breach of a classified system within the office.

“This is the most sensitive office in the US government,” said a former senior US intelligence official familiar with the work of the office. “A compromise there would cause grave strategic damage to the United States.”

Security officials are investigating the breach and have not yet determined the damage that may have been caused by the hacking incident, the officials said.

Despite the administration national security official’s assertion, one defense official said there is fairly solid intelligence linking the penetration of the WHMO network to China, and there are concerns that the attackers were able to breach the classified network.

Details of the cyber attack and the potential damage it may have caused remain closely held within the US government.

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Editor's Note: Again, one has to ask, is this the type of action a "friendly nation state" exhibits when a "good foreign policy" has been implemented?


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