Hackers Breached White House Network... And Some Other Country Told The US About It

from the best-cybersecurity-folks? dept

So, there's a story in the Washington Post that's getting a bit of attention about how Russian hackers apparently breached a White House computer network (an unclassified network, so not as troubling as it could have been). And that story is kind of interesting, but it seems like the bigger deal is this:
U.S. officials were alerted to the breach by an ally, sources said.
Wait a second. After all we've been told about the brilliant minds at the NSA/US Cyber Command and their "cybersecurity" skills -- it seems immensely troubling that (1) the US didn't catch this themselves and (2) that some other country did catch it. So, uh, just why is some "ally" monitoring the White House's network?

As for the rest of the report, as the Washington Post notes, this isn't even that big of a deal. Foreign state hackers are always going to try to breach US government computers, and sometimes they're going to succeed. That's the nature of the beast. But, it does seem profoundly odd that it was discovered by some other country.

Filed Under: cybersecurity, hacking, network, nsa, russians, security, us cyber command, white house


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2014 @ 12:51pm

    Ally telling US is not an indication that NSA did not know

    The NSA is infamous for giving up information only under very direct questioning from very powerful people. The administration has repeatedly claimed that it learns of various scandals from news reports, so it likely is not exercising whatever supervisory power it has over the NSA. From this, it follows that just because the White House had to learn about the breach from an ally does not mean that the NSA did not know about it. It only follows that the NSA did not tell the White House, maybe because it did not know or maybe because volunteering information is just such an alien concept to NSA employees.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Pegr, 29 Oct 2014 @ 5:36pm

      Re: Ally telling US is not an indication that NSA did not know

      So then they told the Brits to make a call. Hilarious!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      jim, 30 Oct 2014 @ 5:14am

      Re: Ally telling US is not an indication that NSA did not know

      You forgot the rest of the sentence, about the powerful person, and even then they will lie.
      With the NSA watching, probably, what was caught, was the NSAWatcher. Oops, shouldn't have said that. And their backdoor.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Reality bites, 1 Nov 2014 @ 8:37am

        NSA.. are a collection of cretins, deviants, voyeurs and traitors

        you over estimate their to find their own butt with written directions.

        The NSA collects everything but like the bully child stealing all the toys... isn't capable use any of it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2014 @ 12:51pm

    So much for "Trust us, we know what we're doing"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Reality bites, 1 Nov 2014 @ 8:39am

      Trust is for silly children and the religious

      Anyone trusting a feral gov animal deserves exactly what they get. A damn good mauling.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), 29 Oct 2014 @ 12:51pm

    Makes sense

    There does seem to be a "You watch my house, I'll watch yours" quid pro quo going on.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2014 @ 12:53pm

    Not questioning the validity of the reported claims, but this story seems like a convenient way to stir up anti-Russian sentiment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Blaine (profile), 29 Oct 2014 @ 12:57pm

    Outsourceing

    Maybe the White House should hire an outside expert?

    I hear there's some Keith Alexander guy that's has some new magic security technology that he came up with all on his own.... but he doesn't come cheap.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2014 @ 1:01pm

    Glancing back at the previous stories of today, I'd guess that something along the lines of the "UK's GCHQ Can Get Warrantless Access To Bulk NSA Data" happened. The other guys noticed something in the data they searched and tipped off the NSA/White House/whatever. Assuming that the NSA/equivalent believes in their own good faith and doesn't search their own data as wantonly as they'd search data gathered from a foreign source.

    Or it might just be that the ally noticed the tracks others left as they themselves sneaked in. Whichever.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2014 @ 2:42pm

      Re:

      Even more likely: GCHQ was tracking the foreign attackers already and flagged up the intrusion after they wandered in to US Gov't property.

      There's more than one way to notice an intrusion, after all. Since it was an ally that noticed, it would make sense for them to be monitoring the other end of the connection.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2014 @ 1:04pm

    All good points.

    "maybe because it did not know or maybe because volunteering information is just such an alien concept to NSA employees"

    Or maybe because they needed time to remove their own trail,

    or maybe because they wanted to see how good the team monitoring the WH were,

    or maybe they wanted to see which ally would tell the WH and which wouldn't even though all of them knew (who's a tittle-tattle?)

    or maybe because the culprits weren't actually Russians,

    or maybe because they felt the WH didn't need to know,

    or maybe because the brilliant cyberwarriors are too busy monitoring the real traitors (that would be us)

    and so on ad infinitum. Spying is such a fun, endless game. Guaranteed career for life, good pension, easier flying a keyboard than risking life and limb.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2014 @ 2:19pm

    Playing devil's advocate

    So, uh, just why is some "ally" monitoring the White House's network?

    The monitoring might have been at the other end. For instance, the "ally" might have been after a hotdog smuggling ring, and found in their seized servers evidence of data obtained from the White House network, given to them by the real hacker in exchange for a box of really good hotdogs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2014 @ 2:52pm

      Re: Playing devil's advocate

      Yeah I would tend to think this is what happened. However most people monitor their incoming a lot closer than their outgoing traffic.

      Looks like the WH needs to hire that Keith Alexander guy, he has to be the best since he is the most expensive.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2014 @ 8:18am

      Re: Playing devil's advocate

      even if it's not at the other end, one usually gets treated as one acts. So it'd be surprising if allies *don't* have their taps at every corner.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    RD, 29 Oct 2014 @ 2:24pm

    This needs to be in all-caps, my apologies in advance

    WHY THE FUCK DO THEY NEED TO SCOOP UP *ALL* DATA FROM EVERY SOURCE ON THE PLANET IF THEY CAN'T CATCH SHIT LIKE THIS????

    I mean, FUCKING seriously. DO NOT ask for blanket surveilence permission if you CAN'T CATCH THE BAD GUYS.

    Protip: The American Citizens en masse are NOT the "bad guys."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2014 @ 2:45pm

    Extraordinary claims...

    ...require extraordinary proof. At present, there is no proof, not even ordinary proof, on the table that this actually happened. Therefore it may be dismissed as fiction.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2014 @ 4:00pm

    I bet they used the Front Door everyone's been talking about.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2014 @ 5:25pm

    Oh Noes !!!
    Hackers had access to the We The People website
    This means war!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Vegemite_sanga, 29 Oct 2014 @ 6:36pm

    Terrorist watch is working

    I can guess what happened, some computer a was trawling through mass surveillance data and flagged the phrase, "this single glorious act will send their country back to the stone age".

    At this point they realised a draft copy of the TPP had been released - clearly the action of criminals since the government would never do that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Oct 2014 @ 8:06pm

    They left the Front Door open , must have misplaced that Golden Key.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 29 Oct 2014 @ 11:24pm

    Seriously?

    But, it does seem profoundly odd that it was discovered by some other country.

    Not at all. We all know the NSA guys just love to be telling the technical "truth" hopping with glee when questioned. Wiretapping all the Whitehouse and Congress traffic would not sit well with some of the "leaders" in there.

    So they let their friends technically do that (likely providing the infrastructure for it and physically applying the taps in the course of a cooperation program, only actually calling it "tapping" for some occult combination of things not coming together here) while handing them all the traffic to and from their respective parliaments in return.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 29 Oct 2014 @ 11:24pm

    This is a surprise?

    What part of NSA-is-military-intelligence didn't you understand?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2014 @ 3:19am

    programs/apps continually updated, that detects, informs and eventually block intrusions........THATS "CyberSecurity".......defencesive security that we should ALL have........so what the the hell have they been doing.

    Defensive security, gets no where near enough attention hence inovation......imagine app/program thats designed for cases like these, thas higly compatible with the majority of devices out their, continually updated, created to be easilly implemented by programer, to patch any past, present future vulnrabilities

    Thats DEFENSIVE security..........what the hell have they been doing

    Oh right, OFFENSIVE security, i.e. the very thing that creates the need for DEFENSIVE security in the first place

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    amoshias (profile), 30 Oct 2014 @ 5:53am

    It seems much more likely...

    that a group was infiltrated/arrested/whatever and evidence of a white house hack was found, than that someone else is watching the white house's network, discovered something, and told us.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2014 @ 8:00am

    Funny how the more freedoms americans give up to make them safer, actually makes them less safe or in this case just goes to show just how incompetent those protecting their "freedoms" actually are.

    No doubt some new bill will be made to combat this security breech by taking away more rights you guys have that will somehow fix the incompetence of those in charge.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    got_runs? (profile), 30 Oct 2014 @ 8:09am

    Technology is not your friend.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Reality bites, 1 Nov 2014 @ 8:33am

    NSA... .. we now know the S stands for stupid or sloppy

    The feral government is beyond stupid... they are monkeys.

    Why is their Crime?.... inept gov, inept fbi, inept nsa.
    They have all the info.... but none of the intelligence.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Stop Bush and Obama, 4 Nov 2014 @ 1:03am

    Alternatively, ...

    the "ally" in Kiev reported Russia breached the White House network to get the US to launch nukes Russia's way?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    eyesspy, 4 Nov 2014 @ 1:05am

    test

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    eyesspy, 4 Nov 2014 @ 1:08am

    Israel oh Israel, the all seeing eye which hears too. NASA is situated somewhere over there, America houses the shadow government.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    eyesspy, 4 Nov 2014 @ 1:11am

    oops, I hear that it was the Russians who informed the Americans on Israel's breach of the White House computers

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    eyesspy, 4 Nov 2014 @ 1:20am

    Now the Russians have informed the White House that they are prepared for any kind of war being brought to them from the Congress. i wish em all the best in the world in their endeavor to maintain a free and sovereign entity. It's most embarrassing to have to put it in such terms considering Russia has never considered itself under the thumb of America

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Nov 2014 @ 3:20pm

    One reason why it might havebeen noticed by an ally would be if the intruders were probing or attacking the ally from the White House network. Which is something one would want to do if one wanted the White House to look really bad.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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