U.S. accuses Russian hackers of targeting defense contractors

The targeted contractors work in "intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance... weapons and missile development" in addition to other areas.

Updated: February 16, 2022 - 5:36pm

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American intelligence agencies are accusing state-sponsored Russian hacking of federal defense contractors from at least January 2020 to February 2022.

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) sent an alert Wednesday stating that along with the FBI and NSA it has observed "regular targeting" of both small and large contractors and subcontractors.

The targeted contractors work in "intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance... weapons and missile development" in addition to other areas. 

"These continued intrusions have enabled the actors to acquire sensitive, unclassified information," CISA wrote. 

The press release concerningly notes that the hackers have "maintained persistent access to multiple [cleared defense contractors] for at least six months."

The information may have allowed foreign actors to "adjust their own military plans and priorities, hasten technological development efforts, inform foreign policymakers of U.S. intentions, and target potential sources for recruitment," CISA said.

The alert comes one day after the Ukranian government blamed Russia for hitting its defense ministry with the worst cyberattack it had ever seen, Reuters reported.