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The Republican National Committee Was Targeted By Hackers

Alex Brandon

Updated July 7, 2021 at 1:54 PM ET

Hackers gained access last week to a contractor for the Republican National Committee, the RNC said in a statement Tuesday.

The RNC said that its contractor Synnex had been hacked but added no access was gained to any RNC data.

"We immediately blocked all access from Synnex accounts to our cloud environment," said Richard Walters, the RNC's chief of staff. "Our team worked with Microsoft to conduct a review of our systems and after a thorough investigation, no RNC data was accessed. We will continue to work with Microsoft, as well as federal law enforcement officials on this matter."

The FBI said it "is aware of the incident and has no additional comment at this time." White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency haven't determined attribution for the attack yet.

The news was first reported by Bloomberg. Two people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg the attack came from a group linked to Russia.

The breach would be the second major cyberattack by a Russian network on the United States in recent days if the source of the attack is confirmed. A ransomware attack by the Russian-language REvil gang reportedly struck at least 200 U.S. companies over the weekend.

President Biden said that attack did "minimal damage to U.S. businesses, but we're still gathering information."

Biden did not say whether the U.S. would retaliate for the attack, but he and Vice President Harris met Wednesday with officials from the State, Justice and Homeland Security departments as well as with leaders from the intelligence community on the U.S. strategy to counter ransomware attacks.

"In this meeting, they provided an update on their ongoing work, surge capacity, resilience and recording addressing payment systems and our ongoing efforts to combat ransomware," Psaki told reporters. "We don't have anything new to report in terms of attribution, nor do we have anything to preview in terms of operational actions or considerations."

Biden met last month with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in Geneva and said that he demanded the Kremlin rein in such activities against the United States. He later told reporters he presented Putin with a list of 16 critical sectorsof the U.S. economy, which if targeted would provoke an American response.

"If, in fact, they violate these basic norms, we will respond with cyber,'' Biden said at the time.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Alana Wise
Alana Wise is a politics reporter on the Washington desk at NPR.
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