Russian hackers took control of Pentagon email system in 2015: Report | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Russian hackers took control of Pentagon email system in 2015: Report

Russian hackers seized control of the unclassified email system used by the US military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff last year, CBS News has reported.

world Updated: Dec 16, 2016 18:04 IST
File photo of an aerial view of the Pentagon. CBS News reported that Russian hackers had taken control of the unclassified email system used by the US military’s Joint chiefs of Staff last year.
File photo of an aerial view of the Pentagon. CBS News reported that Russian hackers had taken control of the unclassified email system used by the US military’s Joint chiefs of Staff last year. (AP)

Russian hackers seized control last year of the unclassified email system used by the US military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, CBS News reported on Thursday, citing an interview with then Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Martin Dempsey.

Dempsey, who did not appear on camera, said he was alerted to the August 2015 attack by an early morning phone call from the director of the National Security Agency, Admiral Mike Rogers, according to CBS.

The email system is used by the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, an organisation of some 3,500 military officers and civilians who work for the chairman.

The hackers seized the passwords and electronic signatures used by Dempsey, an army general who retired in September 2015, and hundreds of other senior officers to sign on to the network, according to CBS. The only way to stop the attack was to take the network down, CBS said.

The attack, which US officials now blame on Russia, was not spying, but a full-on assault whose only apparent purpose was to cause damage and force the Pentagon to replace both hardware and software, which took about two weeks to accomplish, according to CBS.

The motive for the attack was believed to be Russian anger at economic sanctions orchestrated by the Obama administration in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea and interference in Ukraine, CBS said.

The Pentagon declined to comment.

US officials have accused Putin of supervising his intelligence agencies’ hacking of the US presidential election in an effort to help Republican Donald Trump. Russian officials have denied accusations of interference in the November 8 election won by Trump.