Some modern computer hackers aim higher than Home Depot and Target. The Executive Office of the President (EOP), headquartered at the White House, has endured a severe, continuous cyber attack for 2 or more weeks in October 2014.
The EOP includes the President’s immediate staff and multilevel support staff who report to the President, are headquartered at the White House and are led by the White House Chief of Staff. Initiated by Franklin D. Roosevelt in the late 1930’s, the EOP has endured and grown to include councils, offices and staff of: economic advisers; environmental quality; national security; management and budget; national drug control policy; science and technology policy; U. S. trade; the Vice President; and the President’s office and residence.
The EOP relies heavily on the internet using classified and unclassified networks. Given the EOP’s important position and information, it endures cyber threats frequently. In this case, a warning of a cyber attack on the EOP’s unclassified system led shutdown of the systems as a security precaution, so only the unclassified network is experiencing the problems. The attack and responding shutdown have resulted in the network outages and disconnection for some or all network users for days.
Who could be cyber attacking the EOP? Due to the apparent sophistication of the attack, it could be an individual, an organization or even a country. The FBI typically investigates cybercrime against the government but involvement by the Department of Homeland Security and/or the Secret Service would not be surprising. It’s safe to say that the investigation will continue until the cybercriminal is found and discovering his/her/its/their identity should be interesting.
The EOP’s internet technology experts report that they have resolved some problems and are working to fix all the difficulties. Meanwhile, steps have been taken to provide some connectivity so users can accomplish “high priority requests.”
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