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Security experts say personal information likely not target of hack against US

Posted at 12:35 PM, Dec 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-21 14:35:34-05

Security experts are clarifying what you should know about the hack against the U.S.

Last week, federal authorities warned of the breach in government and private computer systems. It's suspected that Russian attackers were behind it.

Some members of Congress have voiced concerns that taxpayers' information could be exposed through the treasury department. But one expert tells us that isn't really valuable to these attackers.

“The breach over the last week is much more geared towards nation state secrets, manufacturing secrets, supply chain secrets, you know different intellectual property, than it is personal information,” said Randy Watkins, Chief Technology Officer at CriticalStart.

Watkins says the average person likely won't see any immediate impact, but with policy information and military strategies at risk, there could be downstream ramifications.

Federal authorities say the hackers primarily got in through software called solar winds that some agencies use.

Watkins says that means we need to look more at how we measure security for third party vendors.

“A lot of times, the attackers don't need to go directly after the treasury department or the department of defense. Those are very locked down networks, but they can go after the third parties that do business and have connections into those environments, and that's what they did in this scenario.”

Officials say this hack could have started as early as last March.

Watkins says the type of tech they used is hard to catch, allowing attackers time to patiently collect data under the radar.

That means working on detection methods will also be key moving forward.