US President Donald Trump said on Saturday that the cyberattacks on key government agencies were “far bigger” in the “fake news media” than in reality. Trump broke his silence for the first time over the major cybersecurity breach, saying he had been fully briefed on the matter and everything was “under control”. The US president also tried to undermine claims made by senior government officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who warned that Russia was behind the massive cyberattack.
“Russia, Russia, Russia is the primary chant if something happens because Lamestream is petrified, largely for financial reasons, to discuss the possibility that it could (it can be!) China,” Trump tweeted.
The outgoing president also suggested that the cyberattack during the presidential election could also target the voting machines, claiming he won the election. “There could also have been a blow to our ridiculous voting machines during the elections, which is now evident that I won big, which makes it an even more corrupt embarrassment for the US,” he added. The tweet was immediately flagged by the microblogging website with the message “Several sources named this choice differently”.
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Earlier this week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) reported on the cyber attack that affected networks within the federal government. While Pompeo did not reveal details about the alleged Russian connections, he blamed Moscow for the worst cyberattack on the government.
“We can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians who took part in this activity,” Pompeo said on Friday.
In a blog post published on Thursday, Microsoft President Brad Smith described the breach as an attack on the US and its government and other critical institutions, including security firms. He said there are broader consequences as a result of the attackers using a technique that compromises the technology supply chain for the broader economy.
Popular software called Orion, which was developed by SolarWinds, was compromised in March by malicious code that had crept into one of its upgrades. The software provides network monitoring services to a wide variety of businesses and government agencies around the world. The malware gave hackers remote access to networks of many of their targets.
“The installation of this malware gave the attackers the opportunity to track and choose from among those customers the organizations they wanted to target further,” Smith wrote.