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White House Confirms Cyber Attack On One Of Its Computer Networks

The White House today admitted that one of its computer networks had been targeted by a cyber attack, but it downplayed a report that sensitive nuclear networks were targeted.

The AFP, Politico and Fox News quote a unnamed administration officials saying the network hit did not contain any classified information and there was no indication any data was stolen.

The AFP reports:

"The US official said the attack was against 'an unclassified network' and was a case of 'spear phishing,' in which a spoofed email tricks a user into clicking through to a website where a hacker can install malicious software or gain control of another computer.

"'These types of attacks are not infrequent and we have mitigation measures in place,' the official said.

"'In this instance, the attack was identified, the system was isolated, and there is no indication whatsoever that any exfiltration of data took place. Moreover, there was never any impact or attempted breach of any classified system.'"

The White House was responding to questions that arose from a report published by the Free Beacon, a conservative website, this weekend.

The Free Beacon reported that Chinese-linked hackers "broke into one of the U.S. government's most sensitive computer networks, breaching a system used by the White House Military Office for nuclear commands, according to defense and intelligence officials familiar with the incident."

The White House, notes Fox News, downplayed that report saying it did not involve nuclear systems.

"In this instance the attack was identified, the system was isolated, and there is no indication whatsoever that any exfiltration of data took place. Moreover, there was never any impact or attempted breach of any classified system," Fox quotes an unnamed White House official as saying.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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