You are here

The US Senate is grilling Microsoft and SolarWinds over last year's historic cyberattack

Submitted by Tech Insider on February 23, 2021 - 2:32pm


Summary List Placement

The US Senate is questioning SolarWinds and other tech firms in a hearing Tuesday after unknown attackers, with suspected links to Russia, infiltrated the company's software last year, compromising thousands of organizations including major federal agencies.

SolarWinds is joined in the hearing by FireEye, a cybersecurity firm that first discovered the malware in December, as well as Microsoft, whose president, Brad Smith, will be present in the proceedings. CrowdStrike CEO George Kurtz will also testify; his cybersecurity firm was apparently able to stave off the hackers.

The cyberattack began in March of last year and went undetected for months. SolarWinds told the SEC that about 18,000 of its 300,000 clients were targeted in the attack. High-level government data was left exposed — the Trump administration confirmed in December that hackers had indeed infiltrated key networks, including the US Treasury and the Commerce Department. 

Read more: Why the impact of the unprecedented SolarWinds hack that hit federal agencies is 'gargantuan' and could hurt thousands of companies, according to cybersecurity experts

Fortune 500 companies — including Microsoft, AT&T, and McDonald's — were among SolarWinds' vulnerable customer base. Microsoft has said its products, including its Office 365 suite and Azure cloud, were not used in the hack, but they were targeted. And FireEye researchers say the hackers appear to be able to send emails and access calendars on Microsoft's 365 suite.

Read more: Microsoft said its software and tools were not used 'in any way' in the SolarWinds attacks. New findings suggest a more complicated role

The White House has said it may respond to the SolarWinds hacks in a matter of weeks.

As Insider reported, Tuesday's hearing will be a pivotal moment in the relationship between the US government and the cybersecurity world, namely how the industry can help federal officials stave off nation-state attacks in the future.

You can watch the live stream below. Follow along here for live updates from the hearing.

Chairman Mark Warner said the committee invited Amazon to attend the hearing but the company declined

Sen. Warner kicked off the hearing and noted that Amazon declined the Senate's invitation to testify in Tuesday's hearing. Sen. Marco Rubio also touched on the company's lack of participation and said, "it would be most helpful in the future if they actually attended these hearings." Amazon did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

SEE ALSO: SolarWinds hackers are expanding espionage data-gathering and gaining powerful access to Microsoft cloud apps, FireEye researchers say

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: What would happen if you jumped off the International Space Station

Full, story source published in: