At what point do we start classifying something as a “cyberattack” rather than “malicious spam” when it comes to email? Apparently, that line is drawn when it involves the White House. After some reports were made that a brazen attack occurred that compromised the security of the United States’ nuclear commands, the White House has confirmed that they were, in fact, the target of a “cyberattack” insofar as an email was sent to them that contained malware. Most everything else about the hyperbolic first reports, however, they claim to be false.
A White House official speaking on background late Sunday confirmed there was an attempted hack but said that it affected an unclassified network, was “isolated” and that there was no evidence that any data had been stolen.
The attempted hack used “spear phishing,” in which an attacker sends an email to a specific target that uses familiar phrases in hopes that the recipient will follow links or download attachments that unleash the hacker’s malware.
That’s the extent of things. None of the secure systems were affected, and no nuclear commands were compromised. Nothing to see here, people, move along.
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