Hackers breached computers belonging to the State Department, The New York Times reports, making it the fourth attack targeting government computers in recent weeks. While it’s not clear who attacked these targets and for what purpose, the State Department, the White House, the United States Postal Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have all reported similar breaches recently.
It’s not known at this time whether any of these attacks are linked, but so far it looks like they haven’t done any real damage, as hackers may have been simply probing these systems to understand what kind of data is accessible.
“This has impacted some of our unclassified email traffic and our access to public websites from our main unclassified system,” a senior State Department official said.
The breach was apparently discovered after “activity of concern” was detected, according to an official, on portions of its unclassified computer network, although no other details have been offered. It’s not known for how long the hackers have been probing the systems, but the Times says security improvements have been added on Sunday.
Hackers who attacked the USPS compromised a database containing telephone numbers and email addresses of customers who contacted the Postal Service from January to mid-August.