An alleged Russian hack against the U.S. government has been making international headlines this week, with multiple federal agencies potentially vulnerable in the digital attack.
But the hack itself didn't directly target government technology; rather, it was an Austin-based software vendor called SolarWinds that was compromised.
What was actually hacked
Orion, a popular network management software from SolarWinds, was infiltrated by hackers, who many suspect to be associated with the Russian government. The company self-reported the potential breach Monday to federal regulators, one day after alerting 33,000 customers of the hack. In total, the actual number of customers affected may be closer to 18,000.
In the filing, SolarWinds said the "cyberattack" was likely the work "of a highly sophisticated, targeted … attack by an outside nation state," although that hasn't been confirmed yet.
It also isn't clear yet to SolarWinds or its customers what data was actually accessed in the hack, only that a "vulnerability" in the software was created to help gain access without being detected between March and June. The FBI and other federal intelligence agencies are involved in the investigation, according to the company's filing.
What is SolarWinds?
SolarWinds makes "IT look easy," or at least that's how the company describes itself online. The business provides IT infrastructure management software and IT operational support.
The international company is headquartered in Southwest Austin, but its 3,200 employees and 300,000 customers span the globe. So SolarWinds may not be a household name, but its reach and reputation make it well-known in information technology circles.
According to Fortune, SolarWinds serves the U.S. military as well as the majority of all Fortune 500 companies. That means the hack itself could have wider-ranging implications beyond the federal security concerns.
Unsurprisingly, the publicly-traded company has seen its stock value plummet to the lowest of levels since SolarWinds went public in late 2018. SolarWinds is urging its customers of the popular software to follow through measures outlined in a security advisory.
Reactions so far this week
I am really unhappy with SolarWinds’ SEC filing about their breach. Let me explain why. First, they claim (without… https://t.co/HQlGxY3v1u— Jake Williams (@Jake Williams) 1607992079.0
Cybersecurity experts are sounding the warning alarms. CNN Business talked to one expert who said the unknowns surrounding this hack has them particularly concerned. A former NSA hacker even called out SolarWinds on Twitter, disputing information contained in the company's public filing.
The Commerce, Homeland Security and Agriculture departments were all targeted, but military and national security operations might have been accessed, too. And that access might've been unfiltered if hackers were able to indeed open the so-called "God door," one former White House official warned about Wednesday.
Data was stolen from at least one company, cybersecurity firm FireEye, which had security assessment tools stolen as part of a hack that prompted this entire discovery. And the attack is daunting enough that one of the senior-most members of Congress, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, called the attack "virtually a declaration of war" by Russia.
Arch Manning, the latest prospect in the Manning football family and No. 1 recruit in the class of 2023, has committed to the University of Texas.
Manning is the nephew of Eli and Peyton Manning and the son of Cooper Manning, a former wide receiver for Ole Miss. The Manning football legacy began with Archie Manning, Arch Manning's grandfather and namesake who played for the New Orleans Saints throughout the 1970s.
Committed to the University of Texas. #HookEmpic.twitter.com/jHYbjBaF5K
— Arch Manning (@ArchManning) June 23, 2022
Manning joins head Texas football coach Steve Sarkisian's program after a disappointing 5-7 first season. Manning, who has been the starting quarterback at New Orlean's Newman High School since he was a freshman, was the No. 1 recruit in the 2023 class, according to 247sports.
Manning had plenty of SEC suitors, including Georgia, Alabama and LSU, but committed to Texas after a recent visit to Austin.
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The Lone Star Fugitive Task Force has found the Jeep belonging to Kaitlin Armstrong, the accused murderer of professional cyclist Moriah “Mo” Wilson.
Armstrong is suspected to have killed Wilson—who was visiting Austin for a race in Hico, Texas last month—in a crime of passion after Wilson met up with her short-term ex-boyfriend Colin Strickland.
The Task Force said the black Jeep Cherokee was sold to a South Austin CarMax dealership on May 13, one day after being questioned by the Austin Police Department, for $12,200.
Armstrong was spotted at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport the next day, en route to LaGuardia Airport, but officials said they lost her trail after she was dropped off at Newark Liberty International Airport on May 18.
Investigators were unable to find any flight reservations under the name “Kaitlin Armstrong” and believe she may be using her sister’s name, Christine.
The case has been designated as a U.S. Marshals Service major case, which brings in more resources to the investigation; officials consider Armstrong dangerous. According to an anonymous tipster, Armstrong became “furious,” when she found out about Wilson and Strickland’s meeting and wanted to “kill” her.
Authorities believe the longer Armstrong is evading arrest, the more dangerous she may become, so anyone who sees her is encouraged to call 911 instead of approaching her. A $6,000 reward, along with an additional $15,000 from an anonymous donor, has been issued for information leading to her capture.