Confirmation that the computer system of reporter Sharyl Attkisson was hacked, and data was stolen, comes from a CBS News statement reprinted at the Washington Post, and released by Attkisson herself by way of Twitter.
A cyber security firm hired by CBS News has determined through forensic analysis that Sharyl Attkisson’s computer was accessed by an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions late in 2012. Evidence suggests this party performed all access remotely using Attkisson’s accounts. While no malicious code was found, forensic analysis revealed an intruder had executed commands that appeared to involve search and exfiltration of data.
This party also used sophisticated methods to remove all possible indications of unauthorized activity, and alter system times to cause further confusion.
CBS News is taking steps to identify the responsible party and their method of access.
The big question will now become whether the identity of the hacker can be determined. Suspicions naturally turn in the direction of certain people in certain agencies of certain governments who have demonstrated a certain enthusiasm for spying on journalists – and few mainstream journalists have been willing to pursue scandals like Benghazi and Operation Fast and Furious with Attkisson’s diligence – but there is no hard evidence of this yet, at least not that CBS News has been willing to divulge. It will also be interesting to see if CBS’ security analysts can determine exactly what data was taken from her computer.