Date
22 July 2017
Barack Obama's trusty BlackBerry runs on a separate email system that appears to be more secure. Photo: NYT
Barack Obama's trusty BlackBerry runs on a separate email system that appears to be more secure. Photo: NYT

Russian hackers took Obama emails from White House system

Some of US President Barack Obama’s email correspondence was obtained by Russian hackers last year, The New York Times reported, citing senior US officials briefed on the investigation.

The breach of the White House’s unclassified computer system in October was far more intrusive than has been publicly acknowledged, the report said.

The hackers, who also broke into the State Department’s unclassified system, do not appear to have penetrated closely guarded servers that control the message traffic from Obama’s BlackBerry, which he or an aide carries constantly.

But they obtained access to the email archives of people inside the White House, and perhaps some outside, with whom Obama regularly communicated.

From those accounts, they reached emails the president had sent and received, the report said.

 

White House officials said that no classified networks had been compromised, and that the hackers had collected no classified information.

Many senior officials have two computers in their offices, one operating on a highly secure classified network and another connected to the outside world for unclassified communications.

But officials have conceded that the unclassified system routinely contains much information that is considered highly sensitive: schedules, email exchanges with ambassadors and diplomats, discussions of pending personnel moves and legislation, and, inevitably, some debate about policy.

On Thursday, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter revealed for the first time that Russian hackers had attacked the Pentagon’s unclassified systems but said they had been identified and “kicked off”.

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