In a massive breach of two dozen organizations, Chinese hackers managed to gain access to the confidential emails of at least two senior officials in the Biden Administration.
As previously reported, Microsoft had announced that a Chinese hacking group called Storm-0558 had been behind the breach of 25 different companies and government agencies.
Now, additional reporting from the Washington Free Beacon reveals that the affected government agencies included the State Department and the Commerce Department, with the accounts of several top State Department officials, as well as Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, being compromised. The hackers reportedly had access to these emails for at least a whole month before they were finally discovered by officials.
“As with any observed nation-state actor activity, Microsoft has contacted all targeted or compromised organizations directly via their tenant admins,” Microsoft said in a statement, “and provided them with important information to help them investigate and respond.”
Raimondo is the only Cabinet-level official known to be affected by the breach at this time. Spokesmen from both the State Department and Commerce Department insisted that both agencies took “immediate” action upon discovering the breach. White House National Security Council (NSC) spokesman Adam Hodge further claimed that the breach only “affected unclassified systems,” and that “officials immediately contacted Microsoft to find the source and vulnerability in their cloud service.”
The Chinese embassy in London issued a statement denouncing the reports as “disinformation,” while instead claiming that the United States itself is “the world’s biggest hacking empire and global cyber thief.”