WASHINGTON, DC — President Joe Biden has announced he’s taking action against cybercriminals who authorities believe hacked into thousands of targets nationwide.
The I-Team recently reported the City of Tampa was among those potentially affected.
On Thursday, President Biden issued an executive order sanctioning Russia for its role in the SolarWinds hack, which enabled hackers to access some of the nation’s most critical computer networks.
The order announces the United States seeks to hold the Russian Federation accountable for its efforts “to engage in and facilitate malicious cyber-enabled activities against the United States.”
It was in response to the months-long SolarWinds hack, which affected more than 18,000 customers of SolarWinds software.
Those included most Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, hospitals, universities and cities.
“We don’t know how much was stolen and compromised yet so the fallout remains to be seen,” cybersecurity expert Scott Schober said.
Schober says hackers used a SolarWinds software update to breach customers’ firewalls, creating back doors into their networks. He says teams of thousands of hackers then could access critical infrastructure and financial data.
“For an attack like that, it’s probably one of the most sophisticated types of attacks, where they’d go to that trouble, go to that length,” Schober said. “And it tells you it involves the most sophisticated hackers. And that’s why this probably will be dubbed one of the largest hacks or breaches ever. “
The FBI, the CIA and other security agencies said in a joint statement the attack was “likely Russian in origin” shortly after the hack was discovered.
Now, the U.S. is expelling 10 Russian diplomats, blocking certain Russian financial transactions and imposing sanctions against Russian technology companies believed to be involved.
It’s not clear if or how Tampa residents may have been impacted.
A city spokesperson says it’s the city’s policy not to comment on security planning or response efforts.
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