The State Department said Friday it was temporarily shutting down Internet service on its unclassified computer network to clean up malware and boost defenses against cyberattacks. The network was breached in November and malware was said to have been inserted by hackers. The department refused to confirm published reports that Russia's government is behind the hackers. "As a part of the Department of State's ongoing effort to ensure the integrity of our unclassified networks against cyber attacks, the Department is implementing improvements to the security of its main unclassified network during a short, planned outage of some internet-linked systems," department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement. "The Department continues to closely monitor and respond to activity of concern on our unclassified network."
In a speech Friday, CIA Director John Brennan told the council on Foreign Relations that U.S. government computer networks are under assault every day from foreign governments, terrorists and hackers of all stripes. He said America's adversaries are "skilled, agile and determined" and matching them will require focus and imagination — from government and private industry. Last week, Brennan created a new cyber unit at the CIA. Intelligence officials told Congress last month that cyber threats are a greater risk to national security than terrorism.
— NBC News staff