Computer networks at the Energy Department were assaulted by sophisticated hackers in a major cyber incident two weeks ago and personal information on several hundred employees was compromised by the breach.
Department of Energy officials, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, are looking into the attack on hosts at the Washington headquarters. They consider the advanced attack wasn’t specified to stealing individual data.
There are indications the attackers had other motives, perhaps including plans to gain future entree to classified and other sensitive information.
According to U.S. officials, Chinese hackers are potential suspects because the department is recognized to be a major target of China for both secrets and engineering science. Also, the relative sophistication of the cyber attack is an indication of nation-state involvement.
The cyber attack was confirmed Friday by DOE security officials and is still under investigation. Officials are working to determine the exact nature of the attack and the extent of potential damage.
The personal data compromised involves information related to several hundred people, the officials said.
A total of 14 computer servers and 20 workstations at the headquarters were penetrated during the attack.