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Hacker breaks into Pentagon email system

DoD shuts down 1,500 computers

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The Pentagon took as many as 1,500 computers offline yesterday to stamp out a security breach in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told reporters in a news briefing today that a hacker had penetrated an unclassified OSD email system, prompting the shutdown. The system reportedly does not contain information related to military operations.

"A variety of precautionary measures are being taken. We expect the systems to be online again very soon."

Gates did not specify the nature of the attack nor verify the exact number of machines taken offline.

"We obviously have redundant systems in place, and there is no anticipated adverse impact on ongoing operations. There will be some administrative disruptions and personal inconveniences. It will come as no surprise that we aggressively monitor intrusions and have appropriate procedures to address events of this kind," he said.

According to Gates the Defense Department gets "perhaps hundreds of attacks a day".

The Secretary said he is not among those in the department to be affected by the security breach.

"I don't do email. I'm a very low-tech person." ®

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So how does he take care of security issues? Carrier pigeon? Smoke signals?

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