Mike Pompeo says Russia was 'pretty clearly' behind the massive SolarWinds cyberattack that compromised US national security

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Mike Pompeo
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a briefing at the State Department in Washington DC on November 10, 2020. Jacquelyn Martin/Pool/AFP via Getty Images
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has claimed Russia is behind the massive SolarWinds cyberattack that targeted several US government agencies earlier this year.

  • "We can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians that engaged in this activity," Pompeo said on the "Mark Levin Show" on Friday night.

  • SolarWinds said that at least 18,000 of its customers had been affected by the hack, including cybersecurity company FireEye and the Pentagon.

  • President Trump has not yet commented on the attack. President-elect Joe Biden said this week that he would make cyber-security a "top priority" of his administration.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Russia was "pretty clearly" behind a massive SolarWinds cyberattack that targeted several US government agencies, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday.

Speaking on the "Mark Levin Show", Pompeo said there was "a significant effort to use a piece of third-party software to essentially embed code inside US government systems," according to the BBC.

"We can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians that engaged in this activity," Pompeo said, NBC reported. "I can't say much more as we're still unpacking precisely what it is, and I'm sure some of it will remain classified."

"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," he added.

The massive national security breach, which targeted software made by firm SolarWinds, was discovered last week but had been going on for months.

SolarWinds said that at least 18,000 of its customers downloaded the software update containing the malicious code that enabled the hackers to infiltrate internal systems.

Among those who were targeted were cybersecurity company FireEye, tech giant Microsoft, the Pentagon, and the Department of Homeland Security.

An office within the Department of Energy, which manages nuclear weapons, was also targeted although officials said that the arsenal's security had not been compromised.

Cybersecurity experts say it could take some of those organizations years to figure out the extent of the cyberattack and what data, if any, was actually stolen.

President Trump has not yet commented on the attack.

President-elect Joe Biden, who will be inaugurated on January 20, vowed this week that he would make cyber-security a "top priority" of his administration. 

"We will elevate cybersecurity as an imperative across the government, further strengthen partnerships with the private sector, and expand our investment in the infrastructure and people we need to defend against malicious cyberattacks," he said on Thursday.

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