Homeland Security and Oversight Committees Launch Investigation into Cyber Attack on Federal Government Systems
Washington, D.C. (Dec. 17, 2020)—Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security; Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform; Rep. Lauren Underwood, Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation, and Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, sent a letter to Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray, and Mr. Chad Wolf of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launching an investigation into the widespread cyberattack that has already affected multiple federal departments and agencies.
“Our Committees are seeking information related to the apparent, widespread compromise of multiple federal government, critical infrastructure, and private sector information technology networks,” the Chairs wrote. “While investigations and technical forensic analyses are still ongoing, based on preliminary reporting, it is evident that this latest cyber intrusion could have potentially devastating consequences for U.S. national security.”
Earlier this week, press reports indicated that “Hackers believed to be working for Russia have been monitoring internal email traffic at the U.S. Treasury and Commerce departments.” In response, the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued Emergency Directive 21-01, which ordered federal agencies to “disconnect or power down SolarWinds Orion products … from their network[s].” By December 15, DHS, the Department of State, and the National Institutes of Health had also reportedly been affected by the breach.
“As the Committees of jurisdiction for U.S. cybersecurity preparedness and the defense of federal information technology systems, it is imperative that our Committees receive the latest information on the number of federal departments, agencies, and other entities affected by the breach, the extent to which sensitive information and data—including classified information—may have been compromised or exposed, the threat actor or actors responsible, and the Administration’s ongoing efforts to prevent further damage, secure its computer networks, and hold those responsible accountable,” the Chairs added.
The Committees requested a classified, interagency briefing this Friday, December 18, 2020. The Committees also asked the agencies to provide any damage assessments of the attack, including interim analyses, as soon as practicable.
Click here to read the full letter.