WASHINGTON—The U.S. Justice Department has become the latest federal agency to say it was breached by hackers in the Russia-linked cyberattack that has ripped through government agencies and an unknown number of corporate networks.
About 3% of the Justice Department’s Microsoft Office email accounts were potentially accessed in the attack, the department said Wednesday.
The Justice Department’s chief information officer learned of the previously unknown malicious activity on Dec. 24 and has “eliminated the identified method by which the actor was accessing” Microsoft Office email accounts, Marc Raimondi, a Justice Department spokesman, said in a written statement.
There is no indication classified systems were affected, Mr. Raimondi said, as the department classified the breach as a major incident requiring notification to other agencies and Congress.
Even unclassified email accounts, though, can contain sensitive information about investigations and potentially national security related issues, said Chris Painter, a former senior official at the Justice and State departments who worked on cybersecurity issues. “A lot of DOJ work happens on unclassified systems.”