cyberattack with city background (Khakimullin Aleksandr/Shutterstock.com)

Expect more SolarWinds victims, national security official says

The number of federal agencies hit by the SolarWinds Orion breach will likely surpass last week’s White House’s tally of 10, according to William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center.

Speaking at Jan. 12 Washington Post event, Evanina said both the number of 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, manager of the Department of Homeland Security’s Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation program, said attack underscores the importance of DHS helping 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 a Jan. 12 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.

This article was first posted to FCW, a sibling site to GCN.

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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