US Treasury confirms SolarWinds hack as more officials blame Russia
By Raphael Satter
WASHINGTON, Dec 21 (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury Secretary publicly confirmed on Monday that his department had been hacked – more than a week after Reuters first reported the hack.
Speaking to CNBC, Steve Mnuchin acknowledged that the hackers penetrated the Treasury’s unclassified network, but downplayed the seriousness of the intrusion.
“We see no intrusion into our classified systems,” he said. “Our unclassified systems have had some access. I will say the good news is that there was no damage and we did not see large amounts of misplaced information.”
Mnuchin said he wouldn’t go into detail because there were still details “that we’re not ready to disclose yet.”
The Treasury did not immediately return a message requesting additional information about Mnuchin’s comments.
US governments and cybersecurity experts in several countries are still struggling to get a handle on the breach, which began earlier this year when hackers took over Texas-based software company SolarWinds and used the company as a springboard to break deep. in government and corporate networks.
Senior US officials – including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – have accused Russia of being responsible for the ambitious spy operation, although some officials and experts told Reuters it was too early to know with certainty which gave rise to the violation.
The Kremlin has denied any involvement and President Donald Trump, who has spent much of his term defending Russia against various allegations of hacking and interference, has played down the breach and raised the possibility of China being involved.
Attorney General Bill Barr on Monday became the latest Trump loyalist to break with the incumbent president, telling a news conference he agreed with Pompeo’s assessment that Russia was responsible: “It certainly seems to be the Russians but I’m not going to discuss it beyond that.”
(Reporting by Raphael Satter; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)