US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Russia of having staged a massive cyber attack aimed at stealing the secrets of multiple US government agencies, including the Pentagon and nuclear laboratories.
Pompeo is the first member of the US government to publicly link the Kremlin to the cyber attack , which was made public last Sunday and on which the outgoing US president, Donald Trump, has yet to take a position.
“I think it’s true that we can now say quite clearly that it was the Russians who were involved in this event,” Pompeo said Friday night in an interview on the conservative radio show “The Mark Levin Show.”
“It was a very significant effort,” he said, adding: “We are still finding out exactly what it was.
Until now, Pompeo had minimized what happened when he recalled that the country suffers cyberattacks on a daily basis, and had pointed to China as the main responsible for these.
This Thursday, the Agency for Cybersecurity and Security in Infrastructures of the EU (CISA, for its acronym in English) warned that this computer attack represents a “serious risk” for the federal government, as it has compromised “crucial infrastructures” in the country and it will be difficult to remove.
Those responsible for the attack spied for months on customers around the world of a product of the US technology company SolarWinds .
The cyber attack , which allegedly began in March, used updates to that software to break into the systems of multiple US government agencies, including the Treasury, State, Commerce and Homeland Security departments.
The perpetrators also allegedly attempted to steal secrets from the Pentagon and the US nuclear program at Los Alamos , the facility where the first atomic bomb was created.
The CISA, however, has not identified the affected agencies or disclosed what information could have been compromised in the operation.