Chinese hackers attack National Weather Service

Chinese hackers attack National Weather Service
(Image credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced Wednesday that hackers have breached the government's weather network, including the National Weather Service.

The attack apparently happened in September, but officials didn't report the problem until Oct. 20. Todd Zinser, the Commerce Department Inspector General, said his office didn't learn of the attack until Nov. 4, which he says is a violation of agency policy about reporting security incidents.

Inspector generals' reports, both from 2009 and this past July, found that the weather service's processing system for satellite data had "significant" security risks. Jacob Olcott, a cybersecurity consultant, told The Washington Post that the hack was likely less about "manipulating weather data" and more about "finding an opening in a U.S. system to exploit."

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After the attack, cybersecurity teams sealed off data that was "vital to disaster planning, aviation, shipping, and scores of other crucial uses," officials told the Post. The NOAA said it is investigating the attack and didn't specify whether it affected classified data.

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