U.S. confirms Russia breached court system, likely accessed sealed documents

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The latest discovery regarding Russia’s 2020 SolarWinds hack is released to the public: that the Kremlin gained access to the U.S. court system’s electronic case files.

Hackers likely accessed troves of confidential information on the court system’s servers, including sealed documents, national security concerns, trade secrets, espionage targets, whistleblower reports, and arrest warrants. The full scope of the intrusion may not be clear for years.

Since the hack was discovered in December, federal courts have implemented new rules for filing sensitive documents that bars electronic records. As of today, there is no confirmation that Russia’s access to the courts’ databases has been cut off.

“I don’t think we know what motivated the Russians in this case to target the court system — whether it was a target of opportunity enabled by this SolarWinds breach, or whether it was a … priority,” said Ben Buchanan, who teaches cyberespionage at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Though the entry point in the SolarWinds network software has been plugged, “it is really hard to kick the Russians out once they’re in,” he said…

“I fear that we do not know how Russia could take advantage of the access and information it may have obtained, and we likely won’t know until it’s far too late,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., told The Associated Press in a statement. “The cleanup of this breach will be extraordinarily difficult …, but we cannot cut corners and just hope that the Russians left.”

Associated Press

The hacks did not stop last year. Russia breached and abused a State Department email system as recently as a week ago at the time of this writing — May 29, 2021.

External Sources

Associated Press (Archived)

Wired (Archived)

MSN / Boston Globe (Archived)

Photo: Unknown, via Utah Politico Hub

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