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Pompeo says Russia 'pretty clearly' behind massive cyberattack against U.S.

Secretary of State says third party software targeted for entry way into government systems.

Updated: December 19, 2020 - 10:19pm

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Russia is "pretty clearly" behind a massive cyberattack that penetrated both U.S. government and private computer systems.

Pompeo told conservative radio host Mark Levin on Friday evening the attack exploited weaknesses in a private vendor used to provide protection to federal and private computer systems. Federal officials have said one of the entry points for the hackers was the SolarWinds Orion security platform.

"There was a significant effort to use a piece of third-party software to essentially embed code inside of U.S. government systems, and it now appears systems of private companies and companies and governments across the world as well," the secretary told Levin.

“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.

Pompeo didn't specify which branch of Russian government was behind the attack, but former CIA Moscow station chief Daniel Hoffman told the John Solomon Reports podcast on Friday that he believes it was the SVR, a successor organization to the KGB.

Among the federal agencies affected by the attack are the State Department, National Institutes of Health, the Commerce Department and the Homeland Security Department,

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