U.S. intelligence reports and a secret document obtained by NBC News have recently unveiled that Chinese cyber spies have targeted the personal email accounts of several high-ranking White House officials—and have been doing so since 2010.
The hackers allegedly broke into email accounts, read emails and harvested contacts from the targeted officials' address books. They also attempted to send malware to the targeted individuals to further access their computers. Malware was also allegedly sent to other contacts in the address books of those officials.
A classified document from an internal National Security Agency presentation given last year, which was obtained by NBC News, suggests that China has been eyeing the private correspondence of the Obama administration's top officials since at least 2010.
"The email grab -- first codenamed 'Dancing Panda' by U.S. officials, and then 'Legion Amethyst' -- was detected in April 2010, according to a top secret NSA briefing from 2014. The intrusion into personal emails was still active at the time of the briefing and, according to the senior official, is still going on," explains an article published by NBC News.
A senior official told NBC News that "all top security and trade officials" have been targeted in the email hack.
"The revelation raises the question of whether former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private email account was among those compromised during this period," explains an article published in The Hill.
Hillary Clinton has been facing controversy following the discovery that she used a private email service hosted on her own server during her time in the Obama administration.
Back in 2011, Google disclosed that private gmail accounts of some U.S. officials had been compromised. However, the government email accounts of those officials, which are more secure, were not accessed.
This report follows on the heels of news that since the beginning of the Obama administration, China has been allegedly involved in cyber espionage operations focused on nearly 700 U.S. targets, including Google and Lockheed Martin, as well as the U.S. government and military, according to another NBC News article.
As the article in The Hill explains, "Beijing-backed hackers are suspected in the recent theft of more than 22 million people's personal data from the Office of Personnel Management. Those same hackers have also been tied to mammoth breaches at multiple health insurers and possibly at two major airlines."