White House confirms cyber-attack on secure network

One of the world's most secure buildings and networks, apparently accessed by external forces.

Cybersecurity is a big issue for governments lately, for it seems the number of people trying to gain access is on the increase. The White House is the latest victim in a long list of governmental institutions to receive attention, after a cyberattack on Sunday.

The Washington Free Beacon suggested that the hackers could have been attacking from inside China. The hackers gained access through "spear phishing", which is a method of email spoofing that sometimes yields results. This is one of those times.

According to the Free Beacon the hackers gained access to nuclear commands and other significant information that absolutely cannot afford to fall into the wrong hands. The Free Beacon paints a negative picture of Obama's administration and their stance towards cybersecurity, but other sources indicate that no information was stolen during the attack.

Should the information be correct, it could be strategically damaging to the United States. It is already well publicized that the People's Liberation Army in China does operate a cyber attacking division, normally cited as  the 4th Department of General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army, a name you won't forget in a hurry.

Former cyber threat researcher Dmitri Alperovitch claimed the following:

The Chinese have an aggressive goal to infiltrate all levels of U.S. government and private sector networks. The White House network would be the crown jewel of that campaign so it is hardly surprising that they would try their hardest to compromise it.

The damage which could be dealt here could be enormous, but the White House has been tight-lipped about any data which could have been taken during the attack.

Source: Politico and Washington Free Beacon

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29 Comments

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You'll see more of these supposed "attacks". One of the major goals of governments worldwide is to have better control over the internet and faking or even allowing an "attack" would justify clamping down in any way they see fit...for your "safety". Frankly, I'm tired of being so "safe", how about we give back some freedoms and just risk it.

Whoever posted this article is a liar. There is no way to hack their systems. You would have to have direct access to it from within the system. The poster of this article is not more than an Obama Administration hater. I am very disappointed with the Neowin Moderaters for not nipping this in the bud by now.

This is a BS article, the gov has what is called a "Red line network" aka so secure its not connected to any public internet connection... all lines in gov buildings are either blue (unsecure) or red (secured) It's been like that since they installed the internet at the white house / capital / all secure buildings (FBI, CIA, NSA)

There is more then one "Secure" network though, there is a secure login network which all systems run on, which is encrypted, and runs on Microsoft Domain controllers (AD) then there is classified (the red line network) the two never mix

mantequillas said,

so you give huffington post as a legitimate news outlet?

It's FAR more legitimate than a right wing kiddie blog like Free Bacon. 8P

I'm assuming the official story will be something like China want to know how many nuclear weapons USA have because China are planning on attacking Japan and, if they do, they need to be able to protect themselved against America because it will no doubt spark a large scale war and China isn't exactly in America's good books tbh.

And if America go to war with China then the whole world will follow, just like Iraq, and soon to be Iran.

MidTxWRX said,
Ermahgerd, the Chinese!
We always need someone to blame.

I know someone who has his network attacked frequently, and it actually is the chinese (he will probably see this too as he reads this website)

Not clear whether the attack was on NIPRNet, SIPRNet or JWICS. Only NIPRNet has routing to the Internet. From the article it looks like the latter was accessed. Which begs the question why classified information was accessible?

I like this part from the article:

“Chinese capabilities in computer network operations have advanced sufficiently to pose genuine risk to U.S. military operations in the event of a conflict,” the report said."

Yes, phishing is such an advanced skill. That or your could just educate your damn employees. This is 2012 and we still fall for phishing schemes? You'd think anyone with information regarding the WHMO would, oh, I dunno, at least double check to verify a source prior to giving up access? This isn't rocket science.

According to the Free Beacon the hackers gained access to nuclear commands and other significant information that absolutely cannot afford to fall into the wrong hands.

Boggles the mind how stuff like that is even accessible from the internet...

xendrome said,

It's not...

Nvm, turns out spear phishing was not what I thought it was. Still, you've got to be a special kind of stupid to give that information out...

The US Government will never ask you for your nuclear launch codes. Do not share your nuclear launch codes with anyone.

nice one

Enron said,
The US Government will never ask you for your nuclear launch codes. Do not share your nuclear launch codes with anyone.

xbamaris said,
Scary stuff, but why in gods name is this stuff not on a closed-network.

It is. This is nonsense posted by some right wing blog masquerading as a news site. Even they've published an update (in red text no less) saying there is no evidence anything was taken. Yet the sensationalist nonsense headline still covers their "front page".

It's politics at its most crass and baseless, which is why no major, reputable news site or network has picked this "story" up.

Though I'm sure Fox News is trying to figure out how to make hay out of this now, but they're waiting from instructions from on high. 8P

xbamaris said,
Scary stuff, but why in gods name is this stuff not on a closed-network.

It would be, this news is incredibly suspicious. The outright blaming of the chinese is in no way how ANY govt would react to a security breach of any kind. Also the way it targets the Obama administration... regardless of what administration is in power security is always handled in the same manner. The fact that some bloke can't get access to that information through email social engineering. There are too many hurdles/cross checks. If they DID access some sort of nuke code it would be something useless like checking of the lights are on in the basement.

******** news

excalpius said,

It is. This is nonsense posted by some right wing blog masquerading as a news site. Even they've published an update (in red text no less) saying there is no evidence anything was taken. Yet the sensationalist nonsense headline still covers their "front page".

It's politics at its most crass and baseless, which is why no major, reputable news site or network has picked this "story" up.

Though I'm sure Fox News is trying to figure out how to make hay out of this now, but they're waiting from instructions from on high. 8P

AP, ABCNews, Wash Post, CNN, CNet, NASDAQ, BBC, NYTimes, NBC...not reputable enough for you?

https://www.google.com/search?...0...0.0...1ac.1.t0jwj2NNhuo

Edited by John S., Oct 2 2012, 3:50am :

Actually no. Not one bit. Most all news is a coordinated effort to put out whatever the government wants and even then, it almost always stems from a single source. So you could ad another 25 "credible news" outlets and it would mean nothing. There's a reason mainstream news is dying, they've been outed and "most" people these days realize it.