Joint Chiefs’ email network breach was “most sophisticated” cyberbreach in US military history (UPDATE 1)

On July 28, CNN reported:

The unclassified email network used by Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and hundreds of military and civilian personnel was taken offline over the weekend after suspicious activity was detected, the Pentagon confirmed to CNN on Tuesday.

Yesterday, The Daily Beast reported that the attack was much worse than we might have thought from initial reports:

The hacking of the Joint Chiefs of Staff email network on July 27 marked the “most sophisticated” cyberbreach in U.S. military history, Department of Defense officials concede. Various government officials are working to revamp parts of their network in response. In the meantime, officials have spent the last 10 days scrubbing the system and creating mock hacking scenarios before giving military personnel access to it again.

The attack on the Joint Staff network involved “new and unseen approaches into the network,” one of the defense officials told The Daily Beast. After scrubbing it, putting in new protections and red teaming potential attacks “ we are sharing the lessons learned with the rest of government.” According to a second defense official, the attack was a spear phishing attack targeting the personal information of scores of users. The attack was so sophisticated officials are investigating whether a “state entity” was involved, the official said.

So… is there any connection between the disclosed attack and a recently claimed Department of Defense hack by “Remember EMAD,” a group that has been described as a “joint Lebanese and Iranian effort – high likely state-backed” (Network Security Report). Since August 1, when Remember EMAD said they would be dumping data, they’ve not posted anything that I’ve found so far, but I’m wondering whether the types of files they describe would be found on the unclassified Joint Chiefs of Staff network:

– deals with contractors

– products being discussed to send overseas to various geos

– id and social security of the dod personnel involved

Just a coincidence? Maybe (probably?), but if anyone has additional details, please contact

UPDATE 1: This attack is now being attributed to Russia. See this article on CNBC.

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