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Pentagon Email System Taken Offline, CyberCom Investigating

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Jonah Bennett Contributor

The Pentagon’s unclassified email network was shut down Tuesday following the detection of suspicious activity over the weekend.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, makes use of the email network, as do countless other military personnel and civilian contractors, CNN reports.

It’s unclear exactly what occurred, given that officials are providing only scant details on the incident. But according to Pentagon spokesman Army Lt. Col. Valerie Henderson, Cyber Command is currently investigating to extract more information. The origination of the suspicious activity is unknown, though earlier in July, the Department of Defense sent out an email stating that a minimum of five users had been targeted by sophisticated attacks linked back to Russia.

“While I am somewhat comforted to hear that the malware was discovered on some systems, it is a virtual certainty that there are more instances of this malware inside the DOD and whatever other parts of our infrastructure this enemy has targeted,” Michael Adams, a former employee at U.S. Special Operations Command, told The Daily Beast.

Henderson added that the decision to shut down the network was an internal one and not forced by outside actors.

“We continue to identify and mitigate cybersecurity risks across our networks,” Henderson said in a statement to Reuters. “With those goals in mind, we have taken the Joint Staff network down and continue to investigate.”

In the meantime, Dempsey and other personnel have been able to make use of a backup system for unclassified email.

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