The State Department shut down its email system on November 14 after it was reportedly hacked, reports the AP. The department’s worldwide unclassified email system was closed down to repair possible damage, according to spokesman Jeff Rathke:
The State Department, like any other large organization that has a global span, is a constant target of cyber attacks….
Origins of the attack are unknown, but FBI is investigating. Attacks on a White House unclassified network were also revealed last month.
The State Department has informed the American Immigration Lawyers Association that external e-mails have not been able to be sent or received since the outage began. This includes e-mails to and from LegalNet. Internal systems, including the intranet and visa processing systems, are operating.
The State Department’s classified systems were not compromised, said Rathkey. Unclassified email is expected to be operational again by about November 18.
In August, the State Department experienced delays worldwide in visa and passport issuance due to technical glitches with its Consular Consolidated Database (CCD), which is used to ensure security checks are conducted prior to approving, recording, and printing visas and passports.