Cybersecurity

State Department tech sputters back to life

computers and globe_data sharing

The State Department’s unclassified email system, which was hacked in early October and shut down over the weekend, is sputtering back to life.

Employees can now reliably send and receive external emails, something they generally could not do Nov. 17, but still cannot access the public Internet through the department’s unclassified system, according to spokesman Jeff Rathke. BlackBerry services have also been restored, he said at a Nov. 18 press briefing.

The cyberattack on the State Department last month and another breach of the White House’s unclassified computer network around the same time are likely related, Rathke said Nov. 17. He also said then that after detecting the breach several weeks ago, the State Department formed a team of cybersecurity specialists from the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies to respond to the incident.

Over the weekend, the State Department conducted a security upgrade to its main unclassified network in response to the breach, which Rathke said did not affect classified systems.

The State Department press office has been using a Gmail account for external relations.

About the Author

Sean Lyngaas is an FCW staff writer covering defense, cybersecurity and intelligence issues. Prior to joining FCW, he was a reporter and editor at Smart Grid Today, where he covered everything from cyber vulnerabilities in the U.S. electric grid to the national energy policies of Britain and Mexico. His reporting on a range of global issues has appeared in publications such as The Atlantic, The Economist, The Washington Diplomat and The Washington Post.

Lyngaas is an active member of the National Press Club, where he served as chairman of the Young Members Committee. He earned his M.A. in international affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and his B.A. in public policy from Duke University.

Click here for previous articles by Lyngaas, or connect with him on Twitter: @snlyngaas.


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