A slew of companies and federal agencies including the Departments of Homeland Security, Energy, State, Commerce, and Treasury as well as the National Institutes of Health are (among the many reported victims of the SolarWinds hacking scandal so far, but don’t worry guys, the president says it’s no big deal.
“The Cyber Hack is far greater in the Fake News Media than in actuality. I have been fully briefed and everything is well under control,” President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday following a week of alarming reports about a sweeping operation believed to be backed by a Russian intelligence agency that monitored government systems for months unnoticed.
Investigations into the attack, which was first revealed this month, remain ongoing, but reportedly the hackers infiltrated the Texas-based IT firm SolarWinds and used its popular software known as the Orion Platform as a Trojan horse to dispense malware to spy on users’ correspondence and files. SolarWinds customers include several government agencies, five branches of the military, and some of America’s wealthiest corporations, and the scope of what’s shaping up to be a historic hack is still being assessed.
On Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed speculation and said the effort was “pretty clearly” tied to Russia in an interview on the conservative radio program the Mark Levin Show. But that didn’t stop Trump from blowing smoke and implicating that it may all be China’s fault (“it may!”) on Twitter, presumably to take some of the heat off his longtime bro, Russian President Vladimir Putin. He also jumped at the chance to desperately tie this widespread hack back to his election loss somehow, speculating without evidence that voting machines may have been affected as well.
“There could also have been a hit on our ridiculous voting machines during the election, which is now obvious that I won big, making it an even more corrupted embarrassment for the USA,” Trump tweeted.
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Which you won’t be surprised to learn is almost certainly bullshit. Former U.S. cyber chief Chris Krebs, who Trump fired last month after he refused to go along with the president’s election fraud ruse, warned Americans on Saturday not to conflate the SolarWinds scandal with voting machine security, since election results can be audited and recounted to confirm their authenticity. After all, “you can’t hack paper,” he tweeted.
Trump’s blustering about the SolarWinds scandal being “under control” is likely bullshit as well. Members of the Homeland Security and Oversight Committee were briefed on the matter on Friday and said they left with “more questions than answers.”
“After receiving a classified member briefing from the Trump Administration today on the major hack to government systems, we are left with more questions than answers,” the committee said in a statement on Friday. “Even in the midst of an unprecedented cyberattack with far-reaching implications