According to cybersecurity researchers, hackers managed to break into Federal Bureau of Investigation email systems and send tens of thousands of fake emails from an FBI address on Saturday.
Ironically, the hacked messages warned of a possible cyber attack, according to the Spamhaus monitoring group.
The agency said it was aware of the cyber attack.
“This is an ongoing situation and we are unable to provide further information at this time,” the FBI said in a statement to Bloomberg News, which reported on the violation.
The agency added that it disconnected the “affected hardware” from the Internet and urged members of the public to receive strange messages or messages from unknown senders.
The attack appears to have targeted law enforcement office’s public email systems, which the FBI uses to send messages to the public. Use a separate system to convey classified information.
The attack reportedly began at midnight on Saturday and sent the fake emails to at least 100,000 mailboxes, using the subject “Urgent: Threat Actor in Systems”. Inside, the emails included a signature stating that the message came from the Department of Homeland Security and mentioned Vinny Troia, a leading cybersecurity expert as well as a group of cybercriminals known as The Dark Overlord.
The violation is reportedly believed to be the first time a hacker used the FBI’s computer alarm systems send high volumes of spam.
Hackers have targeted a number of US government actors in recent months, including the “SolarWinds“The hack, believed to have been conducted by the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, which targeted at least nine federal agencies, and a China-backed effort in March that a message from the government was targeted and the calendar server schedule.
Last September, British citizen Nathan Wyatt pleaded guilty to being part of The Dark Lord, a group that according to the Justice Department used its “technical skills to steal private data from Americans and exploited the sensitive nature of their medical and financial records.”