Explained: What is massive cyberattack in US all about?

New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaEdited By: Gravitas deskUpdated: Dec 17, 2020, 11:59 PM IST
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Representative Image. Photograph:(AFP)

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How did the cyberattack come to light? This report attempts to decode

The United States is grappling with a massive cyberattack. As many as 12 federal agencies have been targetted in what is being described as the biggest cyber raid in years. 

US officials say Russian hackers have been monitoring and reading Washington's confidential emails for months.

The Treasury Department, the US Department of Commerce, the Department of Defense, the State Department and National Institutes of Health have all been compromised. 

But, how did the cyberattack come to light? This report attempts to decode. 

The attack was discovered by a cybersecurity company called FireEye.

It all began in March when hackers reportedly inserted malware into software updates that were being sent to government and private sector clients of an IT company named as Solar Winds. 

Solar Winds believes fewer than 18,000 systems have been compromised. 

Though the news of the breach is out in the open, the scale of damage has not been ascertained. 

Who is behind the cyberattack?

Some US officials have blamed 'nation-state hackers', while US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is pointing a finger at archrival Russia. 

The FBI called it a "significant and ongoing cybersecurity campaign".

Russia has denied any wrongdoing, with its embassy in the US saying: "Russia does not conduct offensive operations in the cyber domain".