The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

See How Mighty We Russians Are: "Solar Winds, Probably Hacked by Russia, Serves White House, Pentagon, NASA"

We can even hack radiation from space!


The headline is from Newsweek, and, yes, it's true that the singular third-person marker on the verb ("serves") provides something of a signal. Note also that the company seems to be called SolarWinds, and using the one-word form would have helped avoid sending the reader down the garden path (though maybe it was a deliberately absurd-humor touch by the headline writer).

Seriously, though, this sounds pretty serious:

A suspected Russian hack of internal U.S. Treasury Department emails have sparked fears among domestic intelligence that other government agencies could be at risk, according to people familiar with the matter.

Three unnamed sources familiar with an investigation told the Associated Press on Sunday that Russia is believed to have been behind the cyber attacks…. The Commerce Department said that one of its agencies was targeted, and the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) are currently investigating the incident.

Two unnamed sources told the outlet that the hackers entered U.S. systems through updates released by SolarWinds, a software company based in Austin, Texas that also provides services to the White House, Pentagon and NASA, according to their website. Additionally, the company provides services to the country's leading telecommunications providers, as well as "more than 425 of the U.S. Fortune 500."