Russian hackers get Obama’s schedule using State Dept computer, but Hillary’s emails safe

Russian hackers who “owned” a State Department computer system used that as a base to hack into sensitive White House data — but Hillary’s emails were safe on her private server.

One advantage of Hillary Clinton having a private email server is when hackers penetrated the government computer system, they probably couldn’t find any of her emails there, according to a CNN report.  The hackers, however, used the State Department’s computers to leapfrog to the White House, breaching a sensitive but unclassified system, CNN found.

While the White House has said the breach only affected an unclassified system, that description belies the seriousness of the intrusion. The hackers had access to sensitive information such as real-time non-public details of the president’s schedule. While such information is not classified, it is still highly sensitive and prized by foreign intelligence agencies, U.S. officials say.

National Security Council spokesman Mark Stroh told CNN that “any such activity is something we take very seriously,” without confirming the Russian hack.

These hackers knew what they were doing.

They may have used a method called “spear phishing,” where an innocuous-looking email is sent from a compromised account to someone inside the White House.  When the unsuspecting user opens the email attachment, the computer becomes infected and begins infecting others while harvesting data for the hackers.

Director of National Security James Clapper said in a January speech at an FBI cyberconference, “So many times, the Chinese and others get access to our systems just by pretending to be someone else and then asking for access, and someone gives it to them.”

The hackers may have “owned” the State Department computer system for months, according to a CNN source, and it is unclear if the system has been completely cleared of their presence.

Twitter users appreciated the irony of the situation.

The president’s schedule was hacked, no big deal.

Perhaps they found this.

Related post: Hacker exposes Hillary Clinton had multiple private emails; Gowdy confirms

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Steve Berman

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