EU, NATO Are Examining If SolarWinds Massive Cyber Attack Affected Them
The European Commission and NATO are investigating a major cyber attack, but have so far not detected any hacking of their computer systems, the European agency and the North Atlantic alliance told AFP on Saturday, 19 December.
The European Commission says it has only one working copy of the SolarWinds IT software that was hacked, but it was not affected by the cyber attack.
The Alliance also used SolarWinds software at its headquarters in Brussels, according to a NATO spokesman. To rule out possible risks, experts are still investigating the situation.
Earlier, Microsoft, which helped respond to the cyber attack, reported that it had identified more than 40 government agencies, think tanks, NGOs and IT companies around the world, which were infiltrated by hackers. Institutions in the US were mainly affected, but the hackers also targeted Belgium, the UK, Israel, Spain, Canada, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates.
The German newspaper Handelsblatt reported on December 18 that the Interior Ministry had discovered several affected companies and agencies in Germany as well. The Federal Office for Information Technology Security is not yet aware of any cases of hacker activity on the infected networks.
Washington confirmed on 14 December that the US Treasury Department and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) were the targets of a large-scale, well-prepared cyberattack from overseas.
By hacking into SolarWind software, which is used by a number of US government agencies, hackers were able to monitor what was happening on infected computers for nearly nine months from March 2020. The US Cybersecurity Administration called the hacking attack a « grave danger » to the US administration, state and local governments, key infrastructure and businesses. The Washington Post and The New York Times reported on the hackers’ ties to Russian intelligence services. Moscow has denied this information.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Russia for the large-scale cyber attack, but Donald Trump said that China, not Russia, could be behind it.