Donald Trump has broken his silence over the huge suspected Russian cyber attack claiming that China could be behind the attack, despite Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly blaming Russia the day before.
The president tweeted Saturday just before noon to downplay the hack which has compromised broad swathes of the federal government and private sector and has been described as the cyber equivalent of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Trump brushed off the hack claiming it ‘is far greater in the Fake News Media than in actuality’ and insisted that ‘everything is well under control’.
He also once again pushed unfounded claims of widespread fraud in the presidential election, saying that voting machines could have been hacked.
Donald Trump has broken his silence over the huge suspected Russian cyber attack claiming that China could be behind the attack, despite Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly blaming Russia the day before
Trump tweeted claiming that China could be behind the attack, despite Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly blaming Russia the day before
GOVT AGENCIES KNOWN TO HAVE BEEN TARGETED BY HACKERS SO FAR
- Department of State
- Department of Homeland Security
- Commerce Department
- National Institutes of Health
- Department of Energy
- National Nuclear Security Administration
- Los Alamos National Laboratory
- Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
- Office of Secure Transportation
‘The Cyber Hack is far greater in the Fake News Media than in actuality. I have been fully briefed and everything is well under control,’ he tweeted.
‘Russia, Russia, Russia is the priority chant when anything happens because Lamestream is, for mostly financial reasons, petrified of discussing the possibility that it may be China (it may!).’
Trump’s fresh attack on China comes as tensions have escalated between the two nations this year as the president has accused President Xi Jinping of a ‘cover-up’ of the pandemic and insists on calling it ‘the China virus’.
There have been no reports of any involvement of Beijing in the cyber attack and Trump provided no information or evidence as to why he thought China may be involved.
He continued in a follow-up post claiming without evidence that voting machines may have been hacked and that he ‘won big’ in the election.
He also tagged Pompeo and Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe in his tweet in a clear sign that disagree with the assessments from two of his top officials that the breach is both ‘significant’ and orchestrated by the Kremlin.
‘There could also have been a hit on our ridiculous voting machines during the election, which is now obvious that I won big, making it an even more corrupted embarrassment for the USA. @DNI_Ratcliffe @SecPompeo.’
Twitter marked this tweet with a warning stating that ‘Election officials have certified Joe Biden as the winner of the U.S. Presidential election.’
His comments come just hours after Pompeo became the first US official to publicly attribute the massive hacking campaign to Russia.
‘There was a significant effort to use a piece of third-party software to essentially embed code inside of US government systems,’ Pompeo told The Mark Levin Show on Friday.
‘This was a very significant effort, and I think it’s the case that now we can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians that engaged in this activity.’
Even before Pompeo’s comments, Russia was thought to be behind the attack
Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping. Trump hit out at China claiming the nation could be behind the attack
Pompeo (pictured with his wife Susan) became the first US official to publicly attribute the massive hacking campaign to Russia Friday
Several private security companies said the breach bears the hallmarks of a Kremlin operation.
Some have pointed at the Russian hacking cell dubbed ‘Cozy Bear’ – though other experts argue that the tools and methods used in the new attack are different from any past breach, making attribution tricky.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman denied Kremlin involvement, and the Russian embassy said in a statement that the country ‘does not conduct offensive operations in the cyber domain.’
Meanwhile, Ratcliffe on Wednesday issued a statement revealing that the breach on government agencies was ‘significant.’
‘This is a developing situation, and while we continue to work to understand the full extent of this campaign, we know this compromise has affected networks within the federal government,’ he said.
Trump has remained quiet on the cyber attack until now and his silence has not gone unnoticed.
Democrats in Congress demanded a harsh response on the perpetrators and blasted Trump for failing to address the issue.
‘Our nation is under assault. This cyberattack could be the largest in our history. We don’t yet know the extent of the damage, but we know that we weren’t prepared & have our work cut out for us,’ tweeted Rep. Jason Crow, a Colorado Democrat Friday.
‘We can’t wait for leadership, we need it now. @realdonaldtrump, where are you?’
Crow also likened the attack to Pearl Harbour in a follow-up tweet: ‘The situation is developing, but the more I learn this could be our modern day, cyber equivalent of Pearl Harbor.’
Senator Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat, described the hack as an act of war telling MSNBC: ‘It’s pretty hard to distinguish this from an act of aggression that rises to the level of an attack that qualifies as war.’
This heat map of infections created by Microsoft shows that those infiltrated by the hackers are spread out across the US
In contrast to Trump, President-elect Joe Biden issued a statement Thursday about the attack where he vowed to make cybersecurity ‘imperative’ when he takes office and said he would not ‘stand idly by’.
‘I want to be clear: My administration will make cybersecurity a top priority at every level of government – and we will make dealing with this breach a top priority from the moment we take office,’ Biden said in a statement.
‘We will elevate cybersecurity as an imperative across the government, further strengthen partnerships with the private sector, and expand our investment in the infrastructure and people we need to defend against malicious cyberattacks.’
The sprawling attack compromised multiple government agencies, as well as a growing list of companies and local governments across the country.
The two US agencies responsible for maintaining America’s nuclear weapons stockpile have already said they were compromised in the attack.
The attack also breached the Pentagon, FBI, Treasury and State Departments.
A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin denied Russia was behind the attack
Microsoft said Friday it had already identified at least 40 government agencies and companies targeted by the hackers.
A heat map of infections released by the tech giant, which has helped respond to the breach, shows that those infiltrated by the hackers are spread out across the US with agencies, companies and think tanks in New York, Washington DC and Texas among the hardest hit.
Microsoft has not revealed the names of those infiltrated by the hackers but said nearly half were tech companies.
The UK, Israel, Canada and the United Arab Emirates were also in the cross hairs.
The attack went undetected for nearly nine months fuelling concerns over the full extent of intelligence and top-secret information that may have fallen into the wrong hands.
US officials on Friday revealed hackers had conducted a ‘dry run’ of their massive cyber attack more than a year ago.
The true scale of who has been affected and what information has been stolen may never be known, officials and experts say.
The hack involved a common software product made by Texas-based SolarWinds Corp, which is used by hundreds of thousands of organizations, ranging from government agencies to Microsoft and Fortune 500 companies.
Trump posted this Christmas card photo on Friday with First Lady Melania as he continued to stay silent on the cyber attack