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Watch: Official says State Dept. computers have been breached and face cyber attacks 'thousands of times a day

State Department (Image: United States Department of State)

A State Department official told Congress Wednesday that the department is under an almost constant threat of cyber attacks, and said its computer systems have already been breached before.

"We are attacked every day, thousands of times a day," Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom said in response to a question from Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.). "I can tell you, senator, that we have been breached, as has been reported."

Higginbottom said she could only discuss the breach in a closed setting, and thus said nothing else. But her comments are likely to alarm many about the risk that hackers might break into State's computers and mine them for sensitive or classified information.

On Tuesday, Perdue asked State Department Inspector General Steve Linick about the security of State's computers. He said State's system had been hacked into, and said the IG office noticed it because they use the same system.

— This story was corrected to note the senator's correct name, David Perdue, not Mark Perdue.

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