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Unruly Hackers Attack Joint Chiefs of Staff

Computerworld.com reported on 6th August, 2015 stating that the hacking group which targeted unclassified email systems of the U.S. Department of State and the White House is supposed to have also compromised a network used by the Joint Chiefs of Staff which is a body of senior U.S. military leaders.

The group said that their system was compromised in the last week of July 2015 affecting around 4,000 staff who works at the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

It was observed that spear phishing emails with customized messages have been sent to targets which may appear to come from the trusted sources with embedded links to documents or other content. When these links are clicked, those links would have downloaded malware resulting compromising of their machines.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff has not announced anything about the breach publically but news reports said that investigators believe that it is the work of a Russian hacker group. The same group entered the unclassified system of the State Department last year and also accessed parts of the network in the White House resulting access to some correspondence sent and received by President Barack Obama.

Theguardian.com published news on 7th August, 2015 quoting Dmitri Alperovitch, Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder of CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity firm, as saying "my company has seen a "massive escalation" in cyber-attacks tied to the Russian government because sanctions were forced last year over actions by Moscow in Ukraine.

He said that he had no details about the so-called assault on the Joint Chiefs of Staff network but his company had discovered numerous attacks against US national security bodies and commercial companies by a cybercriminal group known as "Cozy Bear" which had clear connection with the Russian government.

Alperovitch added that Cozy Bear betrothed in different cyber-attacks ranging from spear-phishing to more sophisticated and complex attacks.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter blamed Russian hackers early this year for penetrating a network of unclassified Pentagon and in April, officials of U.S. confirmed that Russian hackers were responsible for a series of damaging intrusions which penetrated sensitive parts of computer system in the White House. Officials said while investigating that although hackers could only access unclassified systems but they had access to sensitive information about daily schedule of the President.

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