White House cyber-attack blamed on hackers working for Russian government

Officials say they are taking the security breach 'very seriously'

Jon Stone
Wednesday 29 October 2014 16:59 GMT
The White House is widely thought of as one of the most secure places on earth.
The White House is widely thought of as one of the most secure places on earth. (Getty)

Hackers have attacked and breached one of the White House’s computer networks, leading to part of the system being taken offline, a US official has said.

“Suspicious cyber activity” is said to have occurred on the Executive Office of the President network, leading the White House to take measures to address the breach.

The network only deals with unclassified information, though some computer services in in the White House are said to have been disrupted.

Sources familiar with the network told the Reuters news agency that the disruption to the network is still on-going, and that it was caused by the US’s own security team taking some services offline as a precautionary measure.

The White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, would not disclose who might be responsible for the cyber-attack.

The Washington Post newspaper cited sources pointing the finger at hackers working for the Russian government. The Russian government was also blamed for a breach of security in 2008.

"In the course of assessing recent threats we identified activity of concern on the unclassified EOP network. Any such activity is something that we take very seriously. In this case we took immediate measures to evaluate and mitigate the activity," the White House official said.

"Our actions are on-going and some of our actions have resulted in temporary outages and loss of connectivity for some EOP users.”

A second US official said there were no indications that the White House’s classified networks, which are kept separate from day-to-day traffic, have been affected.

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