The Russian-based hackers behind last year’s SolarWinds cyberattack were also able to breach email accounts used in the offices of prominent federal prosecutors, according to the Justice Department.
The Associated Press reported Saturday that 80 percent of the Microsoft email accounts used by the four U.S. attorney’s offices in New York were targeted and compromised.
But the attack was much more widespread.
The Justice Department said 27 offices around the country were affected, including three in Florida, three in Pennsylvania, three in Texas, two in California and one in Washington, D.C.
The department said in a statement that it was making information about the breach available so that employees could prevent their accounts from being compromised in the future.
“The Department of Justice understands that when victims make information public about the nature and scope of computer intrusions they suffered, others can use that information to prepare themselves for the next threat,” the statement said.
“To encourage transparency and strengthen homeland resilience, today we are providing additional details about the SolarWinds intrusion in December 2020.”
The department said the hackers are believed to have had access to the accounts beginning in early May of last year.
“The compromised data included all sent, received, and stored emails and attachments found within those accounts,” the statement said.
The department said it is still working to mitigate the damage done by the hackers.
President Joe Biden announced via executive order in April that 10 Russian diplomats would be expelled from the U.S. and sanctions against Russia would be put in place over the cyberattack and the country’s alleged interference in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
“The United States is expelling ten personnel from the Russian diplomatic mission in Washington, DC. The personnel include representatives of Russian intelligence services,” the White House said in a news release.
“Treasury sanctioned 32 entities and individuals carrying out Russian government-directed attempts to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election, and other acts of disinformation and interference,” the release added.
“This action seeks to disrupt the coordinated efforts of Russian officials, proxies, and intelligence agencies to delegitimize our electoral process. The U.S. government will continue to pursue those who engage in such activity.”
Russia swiftly responded to the expulsions and sanctions, according to the AP.
The day after Biden’s executive action, the Kremlin barred senior American diplomats from entering the country.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said Russia would enact “painful measures” against the U.S. at some point in the future.
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