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The extent of the Massive Cyberattack on the U.S. is Bigger Than We Knew, and Continues to Grow

This week the United States government discovered that a massive cyberattack, the biggest in history, has been underway for months in the systems of our government, perpetrated by a foreign entity. It began as early as last March, just as the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread around the world, and it is continuing.

The massive and sophisticated cyber operation included incursions into at least seven cabinet level departments and 40 government agencies. This includes infiltration into the departments of Treasury, Homeland Security, State and Agriculture; the National Institutes of Health, and the Commerce Department’s telecommunications policy agency.

In the past 24 hours, the Department of Defense and alarmingly, the Department of Energy, which protects the nuclear codes for our nuclear arsenal, appear to have been part of the attack. The culprit is most likely Russia; making this the third cyberattack they have launched against our country in five years.

The response from our President?  Crickets.

For days as the extent of the cyber hack has come to light, he has proved true to form, uttering not one word of  objection, outrage or warning to Russia. Not so much as a ‘knock it off,’ has passed his lips, even as he has continue to rage-tweet at all hours of the day and night his false belief that he won the election and it has somehow been stolen from him.

As of late yesterday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the first comment about the massive breach, publicly blaming Russia for the monthslong cyber hack of agencies across the U.S. government.

“This was a very significant effort, and I think it’s the case that now we can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians that engaged in this activity,” said Pompeo, speaking in an interview with radio host Mark Levin, released Friday.

Politico reports that “the Department of Energy has found evidence that hackers breached networks at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, two National Laboratories, a DOE field Office, and a division of the National Nuclear Security Administration.”

Just as in the past two attacks, the Russian national security agency FSB, that replaced the KGB has been identified as involved in the attack. The cyber unit, known as Cozy Bear, is classified as advanced persistent threat APT29; a Russian hacker group believed to be associated with one or more intelligence agencies of Russia, including the FSB.

The hack was first spotted by an outside computer security firm known as SolarWinds Inc. Microsoft has now pulled in hundreds of its computer engineers to look at the extent of the hack. So far, it appears that this now involves more than 18,000 private companies and state and local governments, although it may be months before the full extent of this cyber incursion will be known.

Calls by United States Congressional leaders to take strong retaliatory action are growing as the extent of the nearly nine-month long incursion is becoming evident. Several of them point to this as a literal act of war. Utah Senator Mitt Romney compared it to Russian flying bombers back and forth the length and breadth of our country, while others compare it to more damaging than the attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the U.S. into World War II.

Russia (no surprise) has denied any involvement. So far — there has been no actual demand to our adversary Russia to “knock it off!”