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Prelude to War? Foreign Actors Still in Control of US Federal Networks and Systems

SolarWinds provided the software which gave hackers access to the critical networks and systems.

The ongoing cyberattack on the United States could be a prelude to war, says cybersecurity expert Morgan Wright. 

Wright made the comments Thursday during a televised interview with Lou Dobbs, calling the attack an Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield.  

“This is almost like a prelude to war,” said Wright. “They are assessing our capabilities, our strengths. They are looking at where is the U.S. going, what can they really do.” 

“They know where all the soft spots are, they know where all the vulnerabilities are. Russia now has got the entire playbook if they want to, for example, take down the US energy grid.” 

Wright is a former senior advisor to the U.S. State Department Antiterrorism Assistance Program and is considered an expert in cybersecurity and cyberterrorism. 

He alleges Russia is behind the ongoing attack, comparing the tactics to those previously used in Ukraine. Russian hackers killed power for more than 700,000 people in Ukraine during a cyberattack in December 2016. 

Like the 2016 hackers, the current hackers have access to the US Energy and could take down the power grid, creating severe issues for hospitals, transportation and more. Worse though, hackers also access the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). 

Wright says the attack calls for a swift response, especially since they have not been able to root the hackers out of their systems. 

“This is beyond an all hands ondeck,” said Wright. “We don’t even have the number of people it takes to respond to this.” 

“You’ve got to hit back. They’ve got to unleash US Cyber Command even more. Let Gen. Nakasone take his cyber troops and go on the offensive and start teaching some of these folks that there is a price to pay if you attack the United States.” 

Dobbs, calling it a “grave, grave attack” on the nation suggested the U.S. may be compelled to respond with physical force if they lack the ability to end the cyber battle. 

Other impacted federal agencies include the US Treasury Department, the US Department of Commerce, the Department of Defense (Pentagon), the State Department and National Institutes of Health with their security being compromised.

Hackers supposedly gained access to vital networks and systems through a massive malware campaign. The malicious software was attached to trusted software of a popular cybersecurity company, SolarWinds. When SolarWinds software was installed, it opened the backdoor for the hackers to gain access.

Along with numerous federal agencies, SolarWinds has thousands of customers including numerous Fortune 500 companies, including Microsoft, are also affected by the hack. Dominion Voting Systems, the voting system at the center of the 2020 election controversy, also used SolarWinds.

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Written By

Ryan Craswell is a 2001 graduate of the Holland College Journalism Program in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. He has worked in print media with The Eastern Graphic newspaper in PEI along with the Truro Daily News and Amherst Daily News in Nova Scotia. Ryan has also been an editor in online sports media but more recently has worked in marketing content. He created Free North News in October 2020 and is committed to delivering honest insight and news that the corporate, mainstream media fails to cover.

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