Carter: Russians hacked Pentagon earlier this year

Russian hackers allegedly broke into one of the computer networks of the Pentagon, Fox News said on Thursday.

The news channel quoted Defence Secretary Ash Carter, saying that the Department of Defense suffered a cybersecurity breach after Russian hackers infiltrated an unclassified defense computer network earlier this year.

The Department of Defense managed to react quickly and get rid of the attackers within 24 hours, but to Carter, speaking to a group at Stanford University, that was not enough to feel safe: "I still worry about what we don't know because this was only one attack” he said.

A Pentagon official told Fox News that the Russian hacking of the Department of Defense was “totally separate” from recent hacks at the White House and State Department earlier this month and in March, respectively.

Russian hackers broke into the unclassified networks of the White House itself last October. This past March, media revealed the networks at the State Department had also been breached.

The news came a day after it was revealed that the US military will, for the first time ever, include cyber warfare as an option in conflicts with enemies.

A 33-page Pentagon cybersecurity strategy says the Defence Department “should be able to use cyber operations to disrupt an adversary’s command and control networks, military-related critical infrastructure and weapons capabilities.”

Carter, who was sworn in last February, said one way the department is responding is to be more transparent about cyber security.

“I think it will be useful to us for the world to know that, first of all, we’re going to protect ourselves, we’re going to defend ourselves,” said Carter recently.