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What Investors Need To Know About The US Treasury Cyberattack

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What Investors Need To Know About The US Treasury Cyberattack

U.S. stocks are trading higher despite a successful cyberattack on the U.S. Treasury and the U.S. Commerce Department.

What Happened? On Monday morning, the Trump administration acknowledged there was a security breach at the Treasury.

“We can confirm there has been a breach in one of our bureaus. We have asked CISA and the FBI to investigate, and we cannot comment further at this time,” a White House spokesperson said.

Why It’s Important: President Donald Trump fired top U.S. cybersecurity official Christopher Krebs in November following the election. The hack involved the Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) Office 365 platform, according to Reuters.

Reuters reported the hackers are suspected to work for Russia and have reportedly been monitoring internal emails within the Treasury and Commerce departments. The Russian Embassy in Washington denied the country was involved in the attacks.

Related Link: Analyst Sets S&P 500 Target Of 3,900 For 2021: 'Healing Is Underway'

“This is big deal, and it’s a big deal not only because of the information they may be having access to but once you’re in a network, you’re in and there are a lot of things you can do,” Sue Gordon, former national intelligence principal deputy director, told CNBC.

In addition to the U.S. government, the hackers also targeted cybersecurity company FireEye Inc (NASDAQ: FEYE), which has extensive security contracts with the government. FireEye said the intention of the hackers appeared to be to steal information from its government customers. FireEye shares traded slightly higher on Monday morning.

Microsoft and FireEye said hackers breached software provider SolarWinds Corp (NYSE: SWI) and then deployed malware to infect networks of other companies and government agencies. SolarWinds shares dropped by 15% in early Monday trading.

Benzinga’s Take: While a breach of the U.S. Treasury is certainly unsettling, investors appear to be far more concerned with the rollout of the first doses of coronavirus vaccines this week. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) opened higher by 0.6% on Monday, but investors should continue to monitor the attack for any additional information that it was larger or more harmful than initially suspected.

 

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