FBI probes hack involving fbi.gov e-mail addresses

FBI systems specialists last week launched an investigation into a hacking incident that prompted the bureau to close e-mail accounts furnished by its Internet service provider.

The bureau had been in the process of migrating its e-mail accounts over to a more secure e-mail application, an FBI official said. But some agency employees continued to receive e-mail support from AT&T Corp., the ISP that provided www.fbi.gov accounts.

The FBI shuttered those accounts, reportedly numbering in the thousands, until they could be migrated to the new secure system.

'Because of the anonymity of the Internet, this investigation will take some time,' an FBI official said.

The attack happened last year but only became public recently, an FBI technician said. 'It happened eight months ago, and they don't tell us,' he said.

In a statement last week, the bureau said: 'The FBI is aware of a compromise to a commercial e-mail system which hosts a limited number of fbi.gov accounts. ... These accounts are used for nonsensitive, nonsecure communications and do not impact secure internal and external FBI e-mail accounts.'

Bureau officials said the incident did not affect the FBI's Web site, online tip line, Law Enforcement Online system for communicating with other law enforcement agencies or the Internet Cafe accounts most FBI Web users access.

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