Why US President Barack Obama could not stop Russian Cyber attack on US Military

CBS News latest reports suggest that a cyber attack which took place in August 2015 brought US military to knees. The news source reported that the attack was carried out by a hacking group funded by Russia and it succeeded in seizing the e-mail system used by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Martin Dempsey, the then Chairman of Joint Chief’s received a phone call early next day from the Director of the National Security Agency Admiral Mike Rogers.

Dempsey, who is now retired, disclosed to CBS news that the day of the call proved a busy day for him on an overall note. At first, the day started with the alert of NSA chief who said that the hackers had seized control of the unclassified email system used by Pentagon’s Joint Staff- including 3500 military officers and civilians working for the chairman.

The cyber crooks somehow managed to seize PC credentials of Dempsey and other senior officers and managed to steal their digital signatures and passwords. Then they sent around 30k emails to a West Coast University. Of those, 4 emails were sent to members of Joint Staff and one out of them clicked on the malicious link. This allowed the hackers to sneak into the network and take down the computers.

At that time the cyber attack was considered as an espionage targeting unclassified systems and so had no intelligence value.

But Dempsey now feels that the act could have turned into a major trouble hadn’t the cyber security teams from CIA acted swiftly.

US President Barack Obama was well informed of the entire situation and after careful review, he immediately ordered for a network seizure.

Later, Pentagon decided to replace both hardware and software on the entire network which took more than two weeks to fully accomplish.

Martin Dempsey spoke about the inability of US President Barack Obama on stopping such attacks. He said that cyber crooks are getting sophisticated in such a way that no government in the world could prevent the mass destruction in a proactive way- his words intend to protect the dignity of White House.

Dempsey believed that the attack was launched in a fit of rage by Russia against economic sanctions orchestrated by the Obama administration in response to Putin’s action on Crimea and his indulgence in destabilizing Ukraine politics.

Naveen Goud
Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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