Security Experts:

Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



Hackers Accessed Employee Login Data From Washington Post Servers

Hackers broke into servers operated by The Washington Post and accessed employee user names and passwords, the publishing company reported Wednesday evening.

Hackers broke into servers operated by The Washington Post and accessed employee user names and passwords, the publishing company reported Wednesday evening.

Exactly what company data was accessed by the attackers was not immediately known, but officials said all employees would be asked to change their user names and passwords, Washington Post technology reporter Craig Timberg reported.

The passwords were reported as being “stored in encrypted form,” something that is often confused with having passwords being Hashed.

Washington Post Servers HackedIf employees are actually being asked to change their user names as reported, the process can be much more challenging than simply changing a password—and something that often IT administrators are only able to do. 

Post officials were notified of the intrusion on Wednesday by Mandiant, the security firm which in February gained attention for its 74-page report exposing one of China’s cyber espionage units dubbed APT1.

Mandiant monitors The Washington Post’s networks, Timberg said, adding that the intrusion was of “relatively short duration.”

“[The attack] began with an intrusion into a server used by The Post’s foreign staff but eventually spread to other company servers before being discovered,” Timberg wrote.

According to Timber, there was no evidence of subscriber data being accessed by the attackers, and no sign that the hackers gained access to The Post’s publishing system or sensitive employee information, such as Social Security numbers.

Related InsightExercising Alternatives to Detect and Prevent Brute Force Attacks  

“The company’s suspicions immediately focused on the possibility that Chinese hackers were responsible for the hack,” Timberg said.

This latest attack markets at least the third known hacker intrusion over the past three years, according to Timberg.

“Evidence strongly pointed to Chinese hackers in a 2011 intrusion of The Post’s network and in hacks against the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and a wide range of Washington-based institutions, from think tanks to human rights groups and defense contractors,” Timberg added.

The Washington Post also had its website hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army this past summer, making it one of several media organizations hit by the pro Bashar al-Assad group.

Upcoming Live Webcast: IDC and Symantec: Say Goodbye to Passwords

  What if you could say goodbye to passwords? Register for this webcast on Jan. 16, 2014 to see what IDC and Symantec have to say about the future of authentication, user-centric strategies, and recent technological advancements that make passwordless authentication a near-term possibility.

Register Now

Written By

For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring the threat landscape and analyzing trends in the National Security and enterprise cybersecurity space. In his role at SecurityWeek, he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and is the Director of several leading security industry conferences around the world.

Click to comment

Expert Insights

Related Content


Zendesk is informing customers about a data breach that started with an SMS phishing campaign targeting the company’s employees.


The release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in late 2022 has demonstrated the potential of AI for both good and bad.

Data Breaches

GoTo said an unidentified threat actor stole encrypted backups and an encryption key for a portion of that data during a 2022 breach.


The FBI dismantled the network of the prolific Hive ransomware gang and seized infrastructure in Los Angeles that was used for the operation.

Identity & Access

Hackers rarely hack in anymore. They log in using stolen, weak, default, or otherwise compromised credentials. That’s why it’s so critical to break the...


A new study by McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) named a staggering figure as the true annual cost of...


Video games developer Riot Games says source code was stolen from its development environment in a ransomware attack


CISA, NSA, and MS-ISAC issued an alert on the malicious use of RMM software to steal money from bank accounts.