Chinese hackers have been reading “many” private emails of top U.S. officials since at least 2010, according to a new report.The breach, aka “Dancing Panda,” was first detected in April 2010 and continues. Hackers had allegedly targeted the personal email accounts — such as Gmail accounts — of several key government officials, including “all top national security and trade officials” in the Obama administration. Secure government email accounts, hackers reportedly used their access to mine officials’ personal address books and then “exploit their social networks” by sending malware to friend and other contacts, including coworkers.
The cyber attack follows an earlier breach, which has also been blamed on Chinese hackers, targeting the federal Office of Personnel Management and compromising private data belonging to 21 million people.
Another breach, reported last week, compromised a Defense Department email system and affected 4,000 military and civilian employees. That attack, allegedly launched by Russian hackers, forced the Pentagon to temporarily shut down one of its networks.