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U.S. Government Computer Systems Hacked; Russians Suspected

One U.S. government official said it was too early to assess the damage caused by the attacks and how much material might have been compromised

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New York, 14 Dec (EFE).

Hackers, acting on behalf of a foreign, probably Russian, government, have hacked into the computer systems of several government agencies in the United States, including the Treasury and Commerce Departments, according to The New York Times, which cites U.S. government sources.

According to the newspaper, the hackers, which had access even to emails, almost certainly acted on behalf of a Russian intelligence agency, in what has been called one of the largest and most sophisticated attacks on federal information systems in the last five years.

Although the Administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has suggested on several occasions -the newspaper recalls- that the government was concerned about Russian intervention in the 2020 elections, key agencies working for the administration, and not related to the elections, have been attacked in recent weeks.

One government official said it was too early to assess the damage caused by the attacks and how much material might have been compromised, but according to several officials, the attacks had already begun this spring, meaning they remained undetected during the pandemic and election months.

“The U.S. government is aware of these reports, and we are taking all necessary steps to identify and remedy any possible problems related to this situation,” said in a statement John Ullyot, spokesman for the National Security Council.

The Commerce Department acknowledged that one of its agencies had been affected, although it did not cite which one, although the newspaper claims it could be the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which is responsible for setting standards and deciding whether to block imports and exports of technology considered a national security risk.

As for the attack on the Treasury Department, the reasons are, according to sources, less clear.

The news of the hacking came less than a week after the National Security Agency, responsible for defending U.S. national security systems, issued a warning that “Russian state-sponsored actors” were taking advantage of flaws in the computer systems used by the federal government.

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