New Details Released After State Department Breach

New Details Released After Major State Department Breach

( – In July, The Washington Post reported that spies from China hacked into the emails of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and others with the Commerce and State departments. At the time, Raimondo was the only one reportedly at the cabinet level compromised, but all the information accessed was unclassified. The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said Microsoft determined that advanced persistent threat (APT) actors used a Microsoft account consumer key to gain access.

On September 27, POLITICO reported new information about the incident. Apparently, the hackers stole a total of 60,000 emails from 10 different State Department employees. Senator Eric Schmitt (R-MO) said the information was revealed during a briefing on Capitol Hill. Nine of the email users were working on Indo-Pacific diplomatic matters, and the remaining email user was working on European issues. Apparently, US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns’ emails were also compromised, as revealed in a recent report detailing the breach.

While the reporting didn’t state any of the information was classified, there was some sensitive information stolen or viewed, including travel itineraries, Social Security numbers, and diplomatic discussions. The State Department said the key was from a Microsoft engineer and that 25 entities were impacted by the event.

While the US Department of State “closely monitor[s] cybersecurity conditions,” cyber attacks and hacking are still a risk. That’s true of any information online. The department didn’t go so far as to point the finger at China directly, but the Chinese government has been mentioned in connection with the incident by other sources.

State Department told Politico a few more details on how it found the breach during the summer. The entity said an alert went off, prompting officials to alert Microsoft and the rest of the US government to the issue. The department’s Chief Information Officer, Kelly Fletcher, said the analyst who built the failsafe did “hero work” and was the one to thank for the initial alert.

Copyright 2023,