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Russian hackers allegedly stole thousands of State Department emails, report

Whether the hacks were related to the larger, recent ones involving IT vendor SolarWinds is unclear.

Updated: March 31, 2021 - 10:25am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Russian hackers allegedly stole thousands of State Department emails – in a cyber attack separate from the massive one involving IT vendor SolarWinds last year that accessed emails, schedules and other information from the Treasury Department and other federal agencies.

Two congressional sources told Politico on Tuesday that the suspected Russian hackers accessed thousands of emails from the State Department's Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs and Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. However, a third staffer said officials do not think the hackers accessed classified networks.

"The Department takes seriously its responsibility to safeguard its information and continuously takes steps to ensure information is protected," a State Department spokesperson said, according to Politico. "For security reasons, we are not in a position to discuss the nature or scope of any alleged cybersecurity incidents at this time."

The hack involving SolarWinds occurred in 2020 and accessed thousands of emails. On Monday, the Associated Press reported that intrusion resulted in hackers obtaining emails of several top Department of Homeland Security officials, including then-Secretary Chad Wolf.

The government sources that spoke to POLITICO said they were unsure whether or not this hack was a part of the larger SolarWinds hack that occurred last year. 

The Russian government has said it was not involved in the SolarWinds-related hack.

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