A targeted phishing attack, possibly the work of state-sponsored Chinese hackers, allowed intruders to breach the White House’s computer network.
The Washington Free Beacon broke the news of the incident on Monday, after an unidentified national security official told the publication that the breach was the result of a “spear phishing attack against an unclassified network” at the White House.
“In this instance the attack was identified, the system was isolated and there is no indication whatsoever that any exfiltration of data took place,” the official told the nearly year-old, nonprofit online newspaper. No classified computer systems were impacted or targeted, according to the official.
Chinese hackers are suspected in a number of attacks over the last few years against U.S. government and corporate networks, though officials in Beijing typically deny such allegations.
In June, Google warned Gmail users of a potential state-sponsored attack by Chinese perpetrators, after being the target of an espionage campaign in 2010, thought to be launched from the same location.
In 2008, Chinese hackers were believed to have hacked a White House computer network to retrieve emails shared among government officials.