Sadly, by the standards of past Chinese hacks, this isn’t even all that notable. The PRC was targeting Biden’s Indo-Pacific Summit, a placeholder pretense of countering China, but they also got targeting information for future attacks.
The hackers were also able to access a list of every State Department email address, according to the Senate staffer. That kind of reconnaissance could be useful information for any follow-on hacking efforts aimed at the State Department.
At a press briefing Thursday, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller confirmed that the hackers accessed about 60,000 State Department emails.
Bizarrely, the State Department is trying to spin this as a win because it wasn’t even worse. The low bar we’re at is that China walking away with 60,000 emails and a list of every State Department email address is a win for our side.
Among the most sensitive information stolen, the staffer said, were victims’ travel itineraries and diplomatic deliberations. Fletcher also said that 10 Social Security numbers were viewed — or could have been viewed — via the hack.
And what’s our response? Investing more money into security while letting China have a clear field to carry on more attacks.