The White House confirmed on Tuesday that earlier this month, the unclassified Executive Office of the President network was hacked, and that an investigation is underway.
Staffers lost Internet connection on one unclassified network, NBC News reported. Officials on Tuesday wouldn’t offer more details on the “activity of concern,” but said efforts to mitigate it were “ongoing and some have resulted in temporary outages and loss of connectivity for our users.”
A White House official told The Washington Post that “Any such activity is something we take very seriously. In this case, we took immediate measures to evaluate and mitigate the activity.”
“Our computers and systems have not been damaged, though some elements of the unclassified network have been affected,” the White House said.
According to The Washington Post report, the Russian government is suspected of being behind the breach; the investigation, involving the FBI, Secret Service and the National Security Agency, is ongoing.
The potential cyberattack comes on the heels of two physical attacks on the White House itself. Last month, one armed fence jumper ran deep into the White House before being stopped and another intruder hopped the fence before being tackled on the White House lawn just last week. Last week, a home-grown terrorist also shot and killed a guard outside of Parliament in Ottawa, Canada and police officers in New York city were attacked recently, as well.
Those attacks and the steady flow of threats – particularly from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and other terrorists– have prompted the Department of Homeland Security to beef up security at federal buildings. Officials won’t say which buildings will see heightened security or if there was a what changes will be made, but say it will help tighten up security measures.
The White House is far from the first government site to see a hack: Healthcare.gov was hacked this summer.
Cyber threats are regularly lobbied against the U.S. government: In 2012, the Department of Defense and the country’s nuclear program reported they were getting 10 million attacks a day each.