A White House official said the attack targeted an unclassified network. He said the attack was identified and the system was isolated to prevent spread. He said there was no indication that any data was removed.
The official, who was not authorized to speak on the record about the attack, said there was no attempted breach of classified systems. The official described such “spear phishing” attacks as “not infrequent.”
Last year, Google blamed computer hackers in China for a phishing effort against Gmail accounts of several hundred people, including senior U.S. government officials and military personnel. Last November, senior US intelligence officials for the first time publicly accused China of systematically stealing American hi-tech data for its own national economic gain.
The White House would not say whether this attack was linked to China.
Leon Panetta, the US defence secretary, during a visit to China last month, raised the subject of China-based cyber-attacks against U.S. companies and the government.
The Obama administration is preparing an executive order with new rules to protect US computer systems. After Congress failed this summer to pass a comprehensive cyber security bill, the White House said it would use executive branch authority to improve the nation’s computer security, especially for networks tied to essential U.S. industries such as electric grids, water plants and banks.
An initial draft of the order included provisions for voluntary cyber security standards for companies.
But by issuing the executive order just weeks before the Nov. 6 election, the White House risks complaints that President Barack Obama is anti-business from Republicans and the same pro-business groups that killed the legislation on Capitol Hill. They argued the bill could lead to costly rules and regulations that would burden companies without reducing the risks.
Source: The Telegraph