Pentagon Email Addresses Being Used in Cyber Spoofing Campaign

Defense Security Service email addresses "are being used in a spoofing campaign."

GettyImages-177649177
GettyImages-177649177

Unidentified cyber criminals are sending fake emails that are made to appear as if they are coming from the Defense Security Service, a wing of the Pentagon that provides security support for the military, defense agencies, and contractors, Foreign Policy has learned.

“DSS email addresses are being used in a spoofing campaign,” wrote DSS in a blast email, obtained by FP, recommending that private companies “alert their cybersecurity staff” and block incoming messages from DSS addresses.

It’s unclear who the targets of the campaign are, and what the goal of the attack is—though DSS typically works with “cleared industry” to protect classified information. The Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence leads DSS.

Unidentified cyber criminals are sending fake emails that are made to appear as if they are coming from the Defense Security Service, a wing of the Pentagon that provides security support for the military, defense agencies, and contractors, Foreign Policy has learned.

“DSS email addresses are being used in a spoofing campaign,” wrote DSS in a blast email, obtained by FP, recommending that private companies “alert their cybersecurity staff” and block incoming messages from DSS addresses.

It’s unclear who the targets of the campaign are, and what the goal of the attack is—though DSS typically works with “cleared industry” to protect classified information. The Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence leads DSS.

The attack comes one day after President Donald Trump signed a long-awaited cybersecurity executive order, tasking the federal government and the military with shoring up critical infrastructure from digital vulnerabilities.

“No DSS systems have been compromised, and we have no indication that any systems within industry have been compromised as a result of the spoofing,” a spokesman for DSS Public Affairs wrote in an email to FP. “The notification was an opportunity to increase awareness of the possibility of further spoofing attempts.”

Photo credit: SAUL LOEB/Getty Images

Correction, May 12, 2017: This article originally misstated the agency that led the “Hack the Pentagon” program. Defense Digital Services ran the program, not Defense Security Service.

More from Foreign Policy

A worker cuts the nose off the last Ukraine's Tupolev-22M3, the Soviet-made strategic aircraft able to carry nuclear weapons at a military base in Poltava, Ukraine on Jan. 27, 2006. A total of 60 aircraft were destroyed  according to the USA-Ukrainian disarmament agreement.
A worker cuts the nose off the last Ukraine's Tupolev-22M3, the Soviet-made strategic aircraft able to carry nuclear weapons at a military base in Poltava, Ukraine on Jan. 27, 2006. A total of 60 aircraft were destroyed according to the USA-Ukrainian disarmament agreement.

Why Do People Hate Realism So Much?

The school of thought doesn’t explain everything—but its proponents foresaw the potential for conflict over Ukraine long before it erupted.

Employees watch a cargo ship at a port in China, which is experiencing an economic downturn.
Employees watch a cargo ship at a port in China, which is experiencing an economic downturn.

China’s Crisis of Confidence

What if, instead of being a competitor, China can no longer afford to compete at all?

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies in the U.S. Senate in Washington on Sept. 24, 2020.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies in the U.S. Senate in Washington on Sept. 24, 2020.

Why This Global Economic Crisis Is Different

This is the first time since World War II that there may be no cooperative way out.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Premier Li Keqiang applaud at the closing session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 11.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (left) and Premier Li Keqiang applaud at the closing session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 11.

China Is Hardening Itself for Economic War

Beijing is trying to close economic vulnerabilities out of fear of U.S. containment.