Russian Hackers Breach White House Computer System—And Access President Obama’s Private Information

Hackers from Russia breached the White House’s computer system, acquiring “sensitive” information, including President Obama’s personal schedule, CNN reports.

These are the same Russians who hacked into the State Department’s system last year, penetrating the White House computers and obtaining a slew of information. The hackers used the State Department breach to find their way back into the system, allowing them to access the White House computers.

According to CNN:

While the White House has said the breach only affected an unclassified system, that description belies the seriousness of the intrusion. The hackers had access to sensitive information such as real-time non-public details of the president’s schedule. While such information is not classified, it is still highly sensitive and prized by foreign intelligence agencies, U.S. officials say.

One U.S. official even told CNN that the hackers were never fully-cleared out of the State Department’s system, giving them the access needed to breach the White House computer system at will.

Mark Stroh, the spokesman for the National Security Council, didn’t explicitly confirm the hack or the intruders’ national affiliations. But he did say:

“Any such activity is something we take very seriously,” adding, “In this case, as we made clear at the time, we took immediate measures to evaluate and mitigate the activity.”

On Tuesday, White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes elaborated more on the cyber-attack, telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer:

“We’re constantly updating our security measures on our unclassified system, but we’re frankly told to act as if we need not put information that’s sensitive on that system.”

“In other words, if you’re going to do something classified, you have to do it on one email system, one phone system. Frankly, you have to act as if information could be compromised if it’s not on the classified system.”

Last week, President Obama signed an executive order meant to prevent future cyber-attacks that originate outside the United States. The order enforces standards that will block individuals associated with “malicious cyber-enabled activities” from receiving various forms of money and provisions.

Cyber security breaches have posed grave threats to our national security. President Obama highlighted the dangers of a weak cyber-defense structure in his State of the Union address, and compared such attacks to terrorism.

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