Chinese Spies Hack U.S. State Department and Commerce Department Accounts, Including Rep. Don Bacon’s Emails
Chinese spies have successfully hacked into the email accounts of U.S. State Department and Commerce Department officials, including that of Rep. Don Bacon. The hacking campaign, which occurred earlier this summer, targeted several government agencies and individuals associated with them.
Rep. Don Bacon, a Nebraska Republican, was informed by FBI cyber analysts that his campaign and personal emails were compromised by Chinese spies for a period of 31 days between May 15 and June 16. The breach was due to a vulnerability in Microsoft’s software, which has since been corrected. Microsoft later identified the hackers as a China-based threat actor called Storm-0558, known for espionage and data theft targeting government agencies in western Europe.
According to Microsoft, the hackers gained access to email accounts affecting approximately 25 organizations, including government agencies, as well as consumer accounts of individuals associated with those agencies. They used forged authentication tokens to make it appear as though they were the legitimate customers.
Rep. Don Bacon, a vocal critic of China’s government and its human rights record, believes that he was targeted due to his outspokenness on issues such as the Uyghur genocide and his support for democracy in Hong Kong and Taiwan. He is not aware of any other member of Congress who was targeted in this hacking campaign.
Despite being a retired Air Force brigadier general with a background in military intelligence, Bacon was unaware that his emails were being accessed by Chinese spies. He stated that he has always assumed his email and cell phones were targets, given the capabilities of Chinese and Russian hackers. Bacon does not discuss sensitive information over unsecured channels.
Looking forward, Bacon vows to double down on his support for Taiwan, as he believes the Chinese government sees him as an adversary.
Microsoft has notified the affected agencies and individuals, completing mitigation efforts to protect their accounts. However, this incident underscores the ongoing threat posed by sophisticated hackers who seek to infiltrate government systems and gain access to sensitive information. It serves as a reminder for lawmakers to remain vigilant in their efforts to protect their data and secure their communication channels.
In conclusion, Chinese spies successfully hacked U.S. State Department and Commerce Department accounts, including Rep. Don Bacon’s emails. The breach lasted for 31 days, and the hackers exploited a vulnerability in Microsoft’s software. This incident highlights the need for continued cybersecurity measures to safeguard government systems and sensitive information.