The State Department on Monday said it believes hacking “incidents” on its computer network and that of the White House are related. 

A State spokesman declined to detail who it suspected of launching the attack, which caused the department to begin bolstering its security measures over the weekend. 

{mosads}”We believe that this activity was linked to the incidents connect to the Executive Office of the President a few weeks ago,” Jeff Rathke said Monday during a press briefing. “I don’t have a broader conclusion to draw than that at this time.”

“I don’t have anything to share at this point on the origins of the intrusion,” he added. “It is something that remains under investigation.”

The State Department shut down its email system on Friday to make security updates. It called the move part of a “scheduled outage.” It first learned of the breach a few weeks ago. 

“Our email systems operate on a worldwide platform,” he said. “We have — our internal connectivity remains in place. It is our connectivity to the Internet that has been affected. None of our classified systems have been affected, and we are doing right now — implementing the security upgrades that I described.”

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday asking for more information on the breach. 

“The increased frequency and sophistication of cyber-attacks on both public and private entities highlights the need for greater collaboration to improve data security,” Cummings wrote. “The State Department’s knowledge, information, and experience in combating data breaches will be helpful as Congress examines federal cybersecurity laws and any necessary improvements to protect sensitive consumer and government financial information.”

There is no reason to believe any classified information was compromised since the department uses a separate network when dealing with classified information. 

The department became aware of the incident a few weeks ago around the same time that the White House said it found concerning activity on the unclassified network of the office of the president. 

Hackers affiliated with the Russian government were suspected in that incident, according to reports. Shortly after the breach was discovered, the State Department and other agencies began working on “a plan to mitigate it.”

Recent reports have also detailed separate breaches of computer systems with the U.S. Postal Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s system.

Tags Hacking John Kerry State Department
See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more

Video

See all Video