China Suspected In Hack Of US Federal Payroll Agency Using SolarWind Exploit

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Just days after China sent a not-so-subtle warning to Taiwan regarding independence (and by extension, to US President Joe Biden), inside sources at the FBI are leaking details about another cyberattack linked to Solarwind, which made headlines in December after operatives believed to be sponsored by the Russian government used an exploit to compromise classified systems.

This time, however, the villain is China – which federal agents believe used the same SolarWinds exploit as the suspected Russians to break into US government computers and access an unknown quantity of data, according to “five people familiar with the matter.”

One of the agencies believed to have been hacked by China is the National Finance Center, an obscure agency in the federal government that handles payroll and other sensitive data. It’s housed within the Department of Agriculture, but contains information from employees across the federal government.

Two people briefed on the case said FBI investigators recently found that the National Finance Center, a federal payroll agency inside the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was among the affected organizations, raising fears that data on thousands of government employees may have been compromised.

The software flaw exploited by the suspected Chinese group is separate from the one the United States has accused Russian government operatives of using to compromise up to 18,000 SolarWinds customers, including sensitive federal agencies, by hijacking the company’s Orion network monitoring software. -Reuters

Security experts have long suspected a second actor was involved in the series of SolarWinds breaches, however this is the first report naming China as another bad actor. – READ MORE

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