While full details are yet to be known, the hostile cyber attack effected through the SolarWinds supply chain is clearly the most virulent in recent memory, and bookends a year when a malignant virus of another sort, the one that causes Covid-19, has dominated headlines. According to the Texas-based software company, the attackers compromised a server used to build updates for one of its platforms that support IT infrastructure management. Audaciously, they used this compromised server between March and June to insert backdoor malware into the products of leading companies such as Microsoft. Institutions targeted include the United States’ Treasury, State and Homeland Security departments.
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SolarWinds has said 18,000 customers downloaded the tampered software updates. The US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency called it a “grave risk” to federal, state and local governments, as well as critical infrastructure and the private sector. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the US National Security Agency have blamed Russian state-sponsored malicious cyber actors for the attack, which was considered so serious that it prompted President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien to cut short an overseas trip and return to oversee daily crisis meetings at the White House.