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Homeland Security

US Forms Task Force Group to Respond to Microsoft Hack, Other Cyberattacks

Sputnik News

15:37 GMT 17.03.2021

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States has formed a multigovernment agency task force to work with the private sector in responding to the hack on the Microsoft Exchange servers and to respond to future cyberattacks, the White House said on Wednesday.

"This administration is committed to working with the private sector to build back better - including to modernise our cyber defences and enhance the nation's ability to respond rapidly to significant cybersecurity incidents", Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology Anne Neuberger said in a White House statement that announced the forming of the Unified Coordination Group, or UCG, task force.

The White House said the UCG is composed of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and Office of the Director of National Intelligence and is supported by the National Security Council.

The task force was founded last week as a full-fledged government response to the vulnerabilities of the Microsoft Exchange server, and held its first leadership meeting on Monday with private sector representatives, the White House added.

Microsoft Exchange Servers became vulnerable to hackers - giving them full access to user emails and passwords on affected servers, administrator privileges on the server, and access to connected devices on the same network - under a global wave of cyberattacks and data breaches began in January.

As an interim fix, Microsoft said on Wednesday it had released a one-click mitigation tool for administrators of information technology systems who still need to apply security patches to protect their Exchange servers.

The Microsoft Exchange hack is the biggest cyberattack discovered in the United States after last year's hack of Texas-based SolarWinds, a major US information technology firm that supported government data. In that breach, foreign hackers were able to spy on private companies like the elite cybersecurity firm FireEye and the upper echelons of the US government, including the Department of Homeland Security and the Treasury Department.

© Sputnik

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