US federal agencies hit in massive global hacking attack


Several US federal government agencies and prominent institutions have fallen victim to a widespread cyberattack that exploited a vulnerability in widely used file-transfer software.

The hacking campaign targeted entities in the US, UK, and other countries, infiltrating their systems through the compromised MOVEit Transfer software.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) confirmed the attacks, expressing urgency in understanding the impact and implementing remedial measures. The affected US agencies and the extent of the damage have not been disclosed.

“We are working urgently to understand impacts and ensure timely remediation,” Eric Goldstein, CISA’s executive assistant director for cybersecurity, said in a statement.

Among the entities affected were British energy giant Shell, Johns Hopkins University and Health System, the University System of Georgia, and other large organizations. While the full scope of the breaches is still being evaluated, Shell reported that only a small number of employees and customers were impacted, with no evidence of harm to core IT systems.

The cyberattacks on Johns Hopkins University and the University System of Georgia highlighted the potential compromise of sensitive information, including personal and financial data. It is essential to assess the severity of data exposure and take appropriate action.

These incidents follow previous attacks on the UK’s telecom regulator, British Airways, the BBC, and Boots. The UK telecom regulator acknowledged data theft, while British Airways, Boots, and the BBC faced exposure of tens of thousands of employees’ personal information.

Progress Software, the maker of MOVEit Transfer, disclosed a critical vulnerability in the software, but it is uncertain if hackers exploited it. The online extortion group Cl0p, which claimed responsibility for the MOVEit hack, declared that government-related data had been erased, offering some reassurance.

“There is no evidence of impact to Shell’s core IT systems,” Shell spokeswoman Anna Arata said. “There are around 50 users of the tool, and we are urgently investigating what data may have been impacted.”

The cybersecurity community is actively investigating the breaches, with federal agencies such as the FBI, NSA, and CISA involved. Despite the ongoing investigation, CISA Director Jen Easterly expressed confidence in minimal impacts on federal agencies due to improved defenses.

This cyberattack wave underscores the significant repercussions that a single software flaw can have when exploited by skilled hackers. Victims are being urged to update their software packages and follow security guidelines provided by Progress Software.

The relentless rise in ransomware attacks highlights the need for heightened cybersecurity measures and vigilance to protect critical systems and sensitive data from evolving threats in the digital landscape.__The News