The scale of a sophisticated cyberattack on the U.S. government that was unearthed this week is much bigger than first anticipated. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said in a summary Thursday that the threat “poses a grave risk to the federal government.” Palo Alto Networks Chairman and CEO Nikesh Arora joins CNBC’s Jim Cramer on “Squawk on the Street” to discuss the impact of the attack and what companies have to do in order to protect themselves from bad actors. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO: https://cnb.cx/2NGeIvi
The scale of a sophisticated cyberattack on the U.S. government that was unearthed this week is much bigger than first anticipated.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said in a summary Thursday that the threat “poses a grave risk to the federal government.”
It added that “state, local, tribal, and territorial governments as well as critical infrastructure entities and other private sector organizations” are also at risk.
CISA believes the attack began at least as early as March. Since then, multiple government agencies have reportedly been targeted by the hackers, with confirmation from the Energy and Commerce departments so far.
“This threat actor has demonstrated sophistication and complex tradecraft in these intrusions,” CISA said. “Removing the threat actor from compromised environments will be highly complex and challenging.”
CISA has not said who it thinks is the “advanced persistent threat actor” behind the “significant and ongoing” campaign, but many experts are pointing to Russia.
“The magnitude of this ongoing attack is hard to overstate,” former Trump Homeland Security Advisor Thomas Bossert said in a piece for The New York Times on Thursday. “The Russians have had access to a considerable number of important and sensitive networks for six to nine months.”
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected the accusations, according to the Tass news agency.
“Even if it is true there have been some attacks over many months and the Americans managed to do nothing about them, possibly it is wrong to groundlessly blame Russians right away,” he told Tass. “We have nothing to do with this.”
The Russian Embassy in London did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
The FBI said Wednesday it is “investigating and gathering intelligence in order to attribute, pursue, and disrupt the responsible threat actors.”
At this stage, it’s not clear what the hackers have done beyond accessing top-secret government networks and monitoring data.
Hackers also accessed systems at the National Nuclear Security Administration, which maintains the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, according to the Politico news site, citing officials familiar with the matter.
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