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FBI failed to warn US officials about cyberattacks

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/alexskopje)

The FBI knew about the Fancy Bear cyberattack a year before it happened and failed to notify everyone affected on time, reports have claimed.

According to AP, out of 80 officials that were targets of the hacking group, the FBI notified just two that they were at risk. AP even revealed that even some senior policymakers didn’t know they had been targeted, until told so by the agency.

“It’s utterly confounding,” said Philip Reiner, a former senior director at the National Security Council, who was notified by the AP that he was targeted in 2015. “You’ve got to tell your people. You’ve got to protect your people.”

AP reached out to the FBI for comment, which declined to discuss the issue but did say that the Bureau ‘routinely notifies individuals and organisations of potential threat information’.

Three people familiar with the matter said the FBI knew a year in advance what was going on. A senior FBI official, speaking under the condition of anonymity, said the bureau was overwhelmed by the sheer number of attempted hacks.

“It’s a matter of triaging to the best of our ability the volume of the targets who are out there,” he said.

Charles Sowell, who used to work as a senior administrator in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and was himself a target of Fancy Bear, think this excuse holds no water.

“It’s absolutely not OK for them to use an excuse that there’s too much data,” Sowell said. “Would that hold water if there were a serial killer investigation, and people were calling in tips left and right, and they were holding up their hands and saying, ‘It’s too much’? That’s ridiculous.”

Image source: Shutterstock/alexskopje