Russian hackers’ breach of President Obama’s email ‘more intrusive’ than thought

27 Apr 2015

Pictured: US President Barack Obama

The hacking of US President Barack Obama’s email was more intrusive than previously acknowledged by the White House, it has emerged.

A month ago, the White House acknowledged that Russian hackers had attacked its email network but said that they only got as far as an unclassified server.

However, The New York Times has now reported that the hack was “far more intrusive and worrisome than has been publicly acknowledged” and that, while President Obama’s BlackBerry account was not hacked, emails to other users were captured by the Russian hackers.

It is believed the hackers penetrated sensitive parts of the White House computer system as well as the state department.

“It’s the Russian angle to this that is particularly worrisome,” The New York Times quoted a White House official as stating.

Cyber warfare

The attack came just a month or two before Sony Pictures was attacked by hackers working on behalf of the North Korean government.

In the past few years the US has made it clear that it would consider attacks on its IT infrastructure as just as serious as any form of attack on its sovereign territory and that it would respond in kind.

It is understood that White House staffers use two computers – a classified machine and an unclassified machine – and the most secure material is shared between the White House, the state department and the Pentagon.

The White House is bombarded with cyberattacks every day, but in this instance officials had to share personal email accounts with one another as well as members of the press to maintain contact.

Barack Obama image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years