Suspected Russian hackers stole emails belonging to top officials in the Trump administration's Department of Homeland Security, including members of its cybersecurity staff.
The Biden administration has tried not to reveal the scope of the breach as it considers retaliatory measures against Russia, but the Associated Press found new details about the hack of the DHS, including then-acting secretary Chad Wolf, and other agencies, including the Energy Department, where the hackers accessed top officials' private schedules.
"The SolarWinds hack was a victory for our foreign adversaries, and a failure for DHS," said Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), the top Republican on the Senate's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. "We are talking about DHS's crown jewels."
The months-long cyber espionage campaign, which was carried out through a hack of the widely used SolarWinds Inc. software, was discovered in December and involved at least nine federal agencies and dozens of private companies, and U.S. authorities say it appears to be the work of Russian hackers.
Wolf and other top DHS officials used new phones that were wiped clean along with the encrypted messaging system Signal to communicate just after the attack, according to current and former officials.
One former administration official confirmed the Federal Aviation Administration was also attacked, and its response was hindered by outdated technology and was unable to identify for weeks how many of its servers were running SolarWinds.
At least one other cabinet member was hacked besides Wolf, according to a former high-placed administration official.