Dozens of email addresses in the U.S. The Treasury Department was targeted by powerful hackers responsible for a far-reaching programme of hacking against U.S. government departments, the U.S. Office. This was said by Senator Ron Wyden on Monday.
Wyden’s office reported in a written statement that the staff of the Senate Finance Committee had been told that the Treasury Department’s hack seems to have been important, “the full depth of which isn’t known.”
Wyden, the largest Democrat on the committee, said that Microsoft had told the government that hundreds of email addresses had been hacked and that hackers had even breached the networks of the Departmental Offices Section of the Treasury, which is home to its top leaders.
“Treasury still does not know all of the actions taken by hackers, or precisely what information was stolen,” the statement said, “although it added that the Internal Revenue Service said there was no evidence the tax agency was compromised or that taxpayer data was affected”
Wyden’s comment had a slightly more pessimistic tone than that of Secretary of State Steven Mnuchin, who told CNBC earlier that day “the good news is there has been no damage, nor have we seen any large amounts of information displaced.”
“I can assure you, we are completely on top of this,” he said.
The Treasury refused to add to Mnuchin’s remarks, and did not immediately answer a call for comments on Wyden’s assertion.
A Wyden aide said that hackers were able to enter Microsoft-hosted inboxes by Treasury officials after gaining possession of the cryptographic key used by Treasury’s single sign infrastructure – a programme used by multiple organisations to allow workers to access a range of resources using a single username and password.
The aide cited Treasury officials as saying that Mnuchin’s inbox was not among those affected.
Microsoft did not return a comment-seeking request immediately.
U.S. policymakers and data security specialists in a number of countries are also trying to wrap their minds around the breach that started earlier this year when hackers subverted SolarWinds, a Texas-based tech firm, and used the company as a springboard to leap deep into government and corporate networks.
Top U.S. officials – including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – have blamed Russia for the spying activity, while some officials and analysts have advised Reuters that it is too premature to know for sure who is behind the violation.
The Kremlin has denied any involvement whatsoever. Republican President Donald Trump, who spent most of his time in office protecting Russia from a number of hacking and intrusion charges, downplayed the violation and raised the likelihood that China could be involved.
Attorney General Bill Barr was the only Trump loyalist to split with the departing president on Monday, telling the news conference that he agreed with Pompean’s assessment:“It certainly appears to be the Russians but I am not going to discuss it beyond that.”