In the SolarWinds hack, Attackers gained access to accounts at roughly 30 US Attorneys’ offices including offices in Washington, DC, New York, and California.
The cyber-espionage attack on users of the software SolarWinds, which the US blamed on Russia, was the worst-ever against the US government. According to the department, at least one office computer of 27 US attorneys was compromised. This has aroused concerns that the hackers may have gained access to sensitive information, such as informant names.
“It’s potentially very serious,” Gil Soffer, a former federal prosecutor, told the BBC.
“Highly sensitive, very confidential, and often very secret material” is contained in prosecutors’ emails, he claims. He noted that if the hackers obtained the identities of confidential informants, they may use the information to “blow their cover.” Last December, the hack, which might have given cyber-criminals access to 18,000 government and corporate computer networks, was made public.
“The Department of Justice understands that when victims make information public about the nature and scope of computer intrusions they suffered, others can use that information to prepare themselves for the next threat,” the DOJ said in a statement Friday. “To encourage transparency and strengthen homeland resilience, today we are providing additional details about the SolarWinds intrusion in December 2020.”
80 % of Microsoft email accounts used by staff at the four New York attorney offices – which handle some of the country’s most high-profile prosecutions-were hacked. They include a number of high-profile financial investigations, implying that any material revealed may be used for blackmail or extortion, according to him.
In reaction to the SolarWinds hack and other cyber attacks, US President Joe Biden’s government announced sanctions against Russia in April. Russia has denied all allegations of misconduct.
“There are all sorts of reasons why a foreign government might want to have that kind of information,” Mr Mariotti said.
He warned that if a foreign government gained access to key legal documents, it may try to exploit them to shift public opinion or manipulate elections.
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