How Spies Hacked US Secrets via Solarwinds' Orion Software
How Spies Hacked US Secrets via Solarwinds' Orion Software

WASHINGTON — The US is currently fighting a massive hack that came to light on December 13, when Reuters reported that hackers had gained access to US Treasury and Commerce Department emails.

Since then, officials say at least six government agencies were infiltrated and thousands of companies were infected with malware.

The highly sophisticated hack was first discovered by a cyber security firm called FireEye.

The company found that it had itself been hacked, meaning that the hackers could have hacked the powerful tools FireEye used to access top-secret systems. Researchers later found that SolarWinds software was at the core of the hack.

They believe a SolarWinds product called Orion spread the malware via its own software updates.

Once downloaded, the malware signaled back to its operators where it had landed.

In cases where access was especially valuable, the hackers then used it to deploy more active malicious software to spread across its host.

Part of the problem is that most people don't even know they have parts of SolarWinds software running on their systems, or on systems they use every day.