19 April 2007

State department pwned, thanks to Microsoft

From AP via Slashdot and Yahoo:

A break-in targeting State Department computers worldwide last summer occurred after a department employee in Asia opened a mysterious e-mail that quietly allowed hackers inside the U.S. government’s network.

In the first public account revealing details about the intrusion and the government’s hurried behind-the-scenes response, a senior State Department official described an elaborate ploy by sophisticated international hackers. They used a secret break-in technique that exploited a design flaw in Microsoft software.

Consumers using the same software remained vulnerable until months afterward.

Donald R. Reid, the senior security coordinator for the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, also confirmed that a limited amount of U.S. government data was stolen by the hackers until tripwires severed all the State Department’s Internet connections throughout eastern Asia. The shut-off left U.S. government offices without Internet access in the tense weeks preceding missile tests by North Korea.

Awesome. Meanwhile, Microsoft lobbyists successfully killed a bill in Florida that would have opened the path for official use of OpenDocument standards instead of proprietary Microsoft Word documents.

© mathew 2017