State Department’s Email Compromised

The State Department’s unclassified email systems were hit by cyberattacks in recent weeks.  Sections of the system have been shut down to improve security and no classified systems were effected.  Maintenance is being performed on the system and will affect unclassified email traffic and employee access to public websites from the unclassified system, and it should be back up soon.  Analysis of the incident reports by the Department of Homeland Security show a common element of social engineering attempts.  This breach was part of the attack on the White House’s Executive Office of the President.  This is one of many breaches in the past few months.  Other incidents include the White House , the Office of Personnel Management, and just this week the U.S. Postal Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The USPS said that more than 800,000 employees may have been compromised along with the information of customers who contacted the call center during the first eight months of the year.  At NOAA four agency’s websites were affected but no further information was given.

The State Department has agreed to brief lawmakers on the cyberattack.  A letter was sent to Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday from House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Elijah Cummings seeking more information by January 5 to help Congress as it considers cybersecurity laws and other ways to protect government and consumer information.  He is also seeking what the State Department is doing to improve its security since the breach.