Cybersecurity

Evanina: Number of known SolarWinds victims 'will continue to grow'

secure network (vs148/Shutterstock.com) 

A top counterintelligence official today said the number of federal agencies affected by the SolarWinds Orion breach will likely grow higher than an initial estimate announced by a White House task force last week.

The White House task force organizing the response to the attack said last week that fewer than 10 federal agencies were affected.

William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said today during a Washington Post event both the number of known public and private sector organizations affected by the SolarWinds hack will likely rise as investigators continue to manage the fallout.

"The hard part for the investigators is: we don't know what we don't know, but I think [the number] will continue to grow," he said.

Evanina also reaffirmed the government's position that the attack was an espionage operation when asked if any evidence has surfaced that suggests hackers were looking to cause more severe disruption.

Kevin Cox, CDM program manager, today said the "latest incident," referring to the SolarWinds Orion breach, underscores the importance that DHS help federal agencies "understand everything in their networks."

He said DHS will pay specific attention to finding "the right tools and technologies to help agencies better protect their networks, but also help identify anomalous behavior -- any activity on the network that doesn't align with normal use of the network."

Cox was speaking at an Advanced Technology Academic Research Center virtual summit at which an organizer stated up front that speakers would not be able to discuss the state of the SolarWinds investigations. Cox did not take questions from the audience following his remarks.

About the Author

Justin Katz covers cybersecurity for FCW. Previously he covered the Navy and Marine Corps for Inside Defense, focusing on weapons, vehicle acquisition and congressional oversight of the Pentagon. Prior to reporting for Inside Defense, Katz covered community news in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas. Connect with him on Twitter at @JustinSKatz.

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