Even as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Russia for the cyber-attack that compromised federal agencies, U.S corporations and critical part of country's infrastructure, President Donald Trump sought to play down the severity of the breach and also stuck a sceptical note on the role of Russia.
“There was a significant effort to use a piece of third-party software to essentially embed code inside of U.S. Government systems and now, it appears, systems of private companies and companies and governments across the world as well,” Pompeo said in a Friday night interview with radio host Mark Levin.
“This was a very significant effort, and I think it’s the case that now we can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians that engaged in this activity,” Mr. Pompeo added.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said on Thursday (Dec 17) that federal agencies and “critical infrastructure” had been compromised in a sophisticated attack that was hard to detect and will be difficult to undo.
Along with the US energy department, federal agencies targeted by what has been described as a sophisticated cyber espionage operation include the Treasury and departments of homeland security, state, defence and commerce.
The breaches of several government agencies was carried out using network-management software from the Texas-based company SolarWinds to infiltrate computer networks.
Many U.S. officials and experts suspect Russia’s foreign-intelligence service, known by the initials SVR, was behind the breaches.
On Saturday, President Trump posted a serious of tweets playing down the possible link to Russia, as well as the severity of the breach.
"I have been fully briefed and everything is well under control. Russia, Russia, Russia is the priority chant when anything happens because Lamestream is, for mostly financial reasons, petrified of discussing the possibility that it may be China (it may!). There could also have been a hit on our ridiculous voting machines during the election, which is now obvious that I won big, making it an even more corrupted embarrassment for the USA." the president tweeted.
Trump also sought to link the cyberattack to his frequent accusation of electoral fraud in the just concluded U.S presidential elections.
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