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Russians hacked emails of major federal prosecutor offices, DOJ says

Justice Department says the accounts were compromised between May 7 to Dec. 27, 2020, around same time as Solar Winds hack.

Published: July 31, 2021 9:15am

Updated: July 31, 2021 9:45am

The Russians who carried out the SolarWinds hacking campaign also exploited weaknesses in Microsoft software to access the email accounts of prominent federal prosecutors’ offices last year, the Justice Department says.

At least 27 U.S. attorney’s offices around the country had at least one employee email hacked and 80% of accounts used by employees in the four U.S. attorney offices in New York were breached. New York prosecutors are the largest source of financial crime cases.

The Justice Department said in a statement Friday that it believes the accounts were compromised between May 7 to Dec. 27, 2020.

“The Department is responding to this incident as if the Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) group responsible for the SolarWinds breach had access to all email communications and attachments found within the compromised O365 accounts,” it said.

The Biden administration three months ago imposed sanctions on Moscow over the SolarWinds hack and alleged interference in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. The Russian Federation has denied wrongdoing.

The full list of hacked offices include:

  • Central District of California;
  • Northern District of California;
  • District of Columbia;
  • Northern District of Florida;
  • Middle District of Florida;
  • Southern District of Florida;
  • Northern District of Georgia;
  • District of Kansas;
  • District of Maryland;
  • District of Montana;
  • District of Nevada;
  • District of New Jersey;
  • Eastern District of New York;
  • Northern District of New York;
  • Southern District of New York;
  • Western District of New York;
  • Eastern District of North Carolina;
  • Eastern District of Pennsylvania;
  • Middle District of Pennsylvania;
  • Western District of Pennsylvania;
  • Northern District of Texas;
  • Southern District of Texas;
  • Western District of Texas;
  • District of Vermont;
  • Eastern District of Virginia;
  • Western District of Virginia; and
  • Western District of Washington.