“WASHINGTON: President Brad Smith of Microsoft Corp. said on Monday that the possible use of US tech company software by Russian hackers to compromise the range of US government agencies is “the world’s largest and most advanced attack ever seen.
The activity that was discovered in December and said by the US government was possibly organized by Russia, violated SolarWinds Corp’s software, providing hackers with access to thousands of businesses and government offices that used their goods.
At the US Treasury, Justice and Commerce departments and other agencies, hackers were granted access to emails.
It could take months to locate the compromised systems and remove the hackers, cybersecurity experts have stated.
“I think it’s probably fair to say from a software engineering perspective that this is the largest and most sophisticated attack the world has ever seen,” Smith said during an interview broadcast on Sunday on the “60 Minutes” CBS show.
Up to 18,000 SolarWinds customers who used the company’s Orion network monitoring program may have been compromised by the hack, and possibly relied on hundreds of engineers.
When we were evaluating what we saw at Microsoft, we were wondering how many engineers were actually working on these attacks. And the response we came up with was, yeah, probably more than 1,000,’ said Smith.
Last month, US intelligence services said Russia was “probably” behind the breach of SolarWinds, which they said appeared to be aimed at gathering intelligence rather than destructive activities.
The hacking effort has been denied responsibility by Russia.
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