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Report: State Department Hit with Cyber Attack, Extent of Breach Unclear

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The State Department has reportedly experienced a cyber attack and notifications regarding a possible serious breach were issued by the Department of Defense Cyber Command, a source recently told Fox News.

“It remains unclear if any department operations were affected by the breach, but a source familiar with mass evacuation of thousands of Americans and Afghans from Kabul said Operation Allies Refuge has ‘not been affected,’” Fox Business reported Saturday.

State Department hit by cyber attack, says mission to evacuate Americans from Afghanistan ‘not affected’ https://t.co/EtKj111FZn

— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) August 21, 2021

Meanwhile, the extent of the alleged breach and those behind the attack remained unclear.

“The Department takes seriously its responsibility to safeguard its information and continuously takes steps to ensure information is protected,” a department spokesperson said. “For security reasons, we are not in a position to discuss the nature or scope of any alleged cybersecurity incidents at this time.”

White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich shared additional information regarding the issue:

Notably, a Senate Homeland Security committee report this month rated State Department’s overall information security a ‘D’, the lowest possible rating in the model, calling it ineffective in 4 of 5 function areashttps://t.co/FqOnxeaimr pic.twitter.com/ALqq94l1hd

— Jacqui Heinrich (@JacquiHeinrich) August 21, 2021

During a July broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s Special Report, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said China and Russia “have every incentive” to solicit criminal groups to carry out cyber attacks against the United States so they have plausible deniability:

Well, I think we certainly have to have the option to retaliate in kind in a proportional way that sends a message about what our red lines are. I’m not sure yet that there is a clear understanding by either the Russians or the Chinese about what the American red lines are with regards to cyber intrusions.

You pointed a moment ago to this Microsoft intrusion and there are others like it. We’re entering an era now where you’re not going to be able to attribute it to a nation-state even though they’re behind it. There is nothing that keeps a nation-state — and in fact, they have every incentive, like China or like Russia, to go to criminal networks and say, we want you guys to do this hack. If you do it, of course, we won’t arrest you. We’ll even let you keep the money you have. But if you get caught, there’s not attribution. You can’t say it’s the government, you could say it’s a criminal organization.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) toast before the fifth regular foreign ministers' meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Dushanbe on June 15, 2019. (Photo by Alexei Druzhinin / Sputnik / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALEXEI DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) toast before the fifth regular foreign ministers’ meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Dushanbe on June 15, 2019. (Photo by Alexei Druzhinin / Sputnik / AFP) 

In May, a major fueling pipeline was taken offline by its operator because of an apparent cyber attack.

The Colonial Pipeline closed down 5,500 miles of pipeline running from Texas to New York, Breitbart News reported.

“This appeared to be a significant attempt in order to disrupt vulnerable energy infrastructure since the pipeline carries refined gasoline and jet fuel up the East Coast,” the report stated.

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