On Sunday, The Washington Free Beacon published a report about a Chinese hack that threatened the White House's "most sensitive computer networks," including the ones that keep the nation's nuclear codes secure, but it appears that the report may be a wild exaggeration of reality. While that report remains unsubstantiated, Politico reports today that a White House official confirmed an "attempted hack" — but said that it was really a phishing attempt on an unclassified network. The Free Beacon also reported that the White House confirmed a phishing attack, but went on to discuss the potential dangers of an unrelated hack on the government's secure systems. And despite no evidence or admission that this was a foreign intrusion, several publications repeated the Free Beacon's claim that the attack was carried out by Chinese hackers.
The Free Beacon's report is a blatant attempt to discredit the White House's national security credibility
As Politico reports, the official says "none of the White House's secure, classified computer systems were affected," and furthermore, that no attempt had even been made to breach a classified system. As Politico points out, the Free Beacon's story is a new attempt "to cast President Barack Obama as weak on national security or defense" — yesterday's report said that the the attempted attack "highlights a failure of the Obama administration to press China on its persistent cyberattacks." Also guilty of failing to press foreign nationals on routine phishing attempts? Everyone with a Facebook account.