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Russia’s 2014 hack of an unclassified State Department computer system was much more aggressive than previously reported with one official describing it as “hand-to-hand combat,” according to an article published Monday by The Washington Post.
Over a 24-hour period, top US network defenders repeatedly ejected the intruders. Just as quickly, the intruders reentered the breached computer system, the news organization reported, citing both named and unnamed officials. Whenever the defenders severed a link between the malware inside the infected network and a command-and-control server belonging to the hackers, the Russians established a new connection.

The new details came amid new warnings by the National Security Agency that Russia is likely visiting the same aggressive tactics on private industry sectors, which have fewer resources and less expertise in repelling such attacks.
“It was hand-to-hand combat,” the WaPo quoted NSA Deputy Director Richard Ledgett as saying.

The official described the incident at a recent forum, but he didn’t name the nation responsible. Russia was identified by other current and former officials. Ledgett, the news organization reported, said “the attackers’ thrust-and-parry moves inside the network while defenders were trying to kick them out amounted to ‘a new level of interaction between a cyber attacker and a defender.'”
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