By Russell Brandom
Just two days after news of a breach at the US Postal Service, The Washington Post has revealed a successful attack on the federal weather network, resulting in a system lockdown and a two-day outage in the vital forecasting system. NOAA, the agency responsible for the network, had previously described the downtime as a result of internal maintenance. New evidence reveals the lockdown was the result of outside actors, including many insiders who say the attackers were based in China. "NOAA told me it was a hack and it was China," Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA) told the Post.
It's still unclear why hackers would target the federal weather network. The network feeds crucial information to aviation and shipping industries around the world, but the data is rarely classified or secret, and there's no evidence that the attackers tried to alter the data itself. The attack may have been aimed at using NOAA systems to attack a separate system or, given the volume of attacks hitting government systems in recent weeks, it may simply have been a test of the group's capabilities. But whatever the motivations behind the attack, the fallout seems to be limited to a few days of lost data, rather than a more extensive credential breach.