Hackers have infiltrated the US government and corporate systems. President Trump is silent for days. Now he contradicts his Secretary of State and expert – with a strange message.
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Incumbent US President Donald Trump, unlike his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, does not necessarily see Russia behind the large-scale cyberattack on US government institutions – but possibly China. Russia is always suspected when something happens, Trump wrote on Twitter on Saturday.
For days, the US president had been publicly silent about the cyber attack. Now he suspected it might have been China, but this option is not being discussed “mainly for financial reasons”. Trump downplayed the magnitude and risk of the hacking attack in his tweet and used the incident to re-spread baseless allegations of fraud related to the presidential election.
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Pompeo: Moscow is “quite clearly” behind it
Pompeo had previously blamed Russia for the massive cyber attack. Now it can be said “fairly clearly” that the Russians were behind the attack, Pompeo said in a radio interview Friday evening (local time). Russia has rejected every link to the hacking attack.
The US Department of Homeland Security confirmed on Monday that there have been attacks on several federal agencies. The ministry has not provided details. According to US media reports, financial and commercial departments and other authorities have been attacked. On Friday, the Department of Energy said it had been hit.
American media see traces of Russia
According to earlier knowledge, the hackers were given access to the systems of government institutions and companies with SolarWinds software. The American software giant Microsoft announced that 40 of its customers who had used the attacked software had been affected.
The Washington Post and the New York Times reported a few days ago that the attackers were hackers linked to the Russian secret service. The Russian government has rejected this. “We have nothing to do with it,” said the Kremlin.
Pompeo now publicly contradicted this and was the first representative of the US government to publicly accuse Moscow of the case. He spoke of “considerable efforts” by the attackers.
Trump: Attack is exaggerated by the media
Trump had previously been silent about the hacker attack for days and did not comment publicly on it. With his tweet, he now defended himself for Russia and suddenly – and without any evidence – brought up China as the possible initiator of the attack.
Trump also claimed that the attack was presented much more widely in the “lying media” than it actually was. “I have received full information and everything is under control,” he wrote.
However, the US Agency for Cyber and Infrastructure Security (CISA) classified the hacker attack as a “grave threat” to the federal government, state and municipal governments, critical infrastructure, and private sector organizations. It announced in a warning message on Thursday that removing the attacker from affected systems is likely to be “very complex.” The cyber attack has been going on at least since March. The perpetrator or perpetrators have shown “patience, operational security and complex craftsmanship”.
US Congress: “Potentially Devastating Consequences”
Also in the US House of Representatives, which is dominated by the Democrats, the chairpersons of various committees expressed great shock. The attack “could have potentially devastating consequences for US national security,” they wrote to intelligence coordinator John Ratcliffe, Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and FBI chief Christopher Wray.
Trump lost the presidential election to his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, in early November. So far, Trump has not admitted his defeat in the election, but claims that he was taken from victory by massive fraud. He has provided no evidence of this. More than 50 lawsuits from the Trump camp have been dismissed by the courts. In his tweet about the cyber attack, Trump again made unproven allegations and wrote that electronic manipulation could have taken place in the election.