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Graphic: CNN

The U.S. government, and America’s largest companies, are scrambling to understand and protect against the "grave risk" to American security from a massive hack that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo now says was a Kremlin op. President Trump's public response: Mostly silence.

Why it matters: People across the government say we've seen the mere tip of this international intrusion — a stunning, dangerous breach that requires infliction of real pain on the perpetrator, now confirmed as Russia.

What's new: It's now clear it'll take months just to kick these elite hackers out of U.S. networks — let alone discern what they've rifled and captured, AP reports.

  • The only way to be sure a network is clean is "to burn it down to the ground and rebuild it," said Dmitri Alperovitch, former CTO and co-founder of the leading cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike. "Cleanup is just phase one."

Experts say the hackers may have been seeking nuclear secrets, blueprints for advanced weaponry, COVID-19 vaccine-related research, and information for dossiers on key government and industry leaders.

  • Bruce Schneier, security expert and Harvard fellow, said: "We don't know what networks they are in, how deep they are, what access they have, what tools they left."

Late Friday — five days after the hack was revealed — Pompeo became the first administration official to tie the Kremlin to the security debacle, telling conservative radio host Mark Levin:

  • "[W]e can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians that engaged in this activity."

A twist: The Russian intelligence service apparently can watch in real time as governments and corporations try to discover and patch the damage.

  • Jeremy Bash of Beacon Global Strategies — former Pentagon and CIA chief of staff — said on MSNBC that the hackers "poisoned our own medicine."
  • Bash told Andrea Mitchell: "[T]hey're going to be reading the emails of the I.T. and security professionals who're responsible for kicking the Russians out."

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Go deeper

23 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Pompeo to stay in DC and join Hudson Institute

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on January 12, 2021. (Photo by Andrew Harnik / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW HARNIK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will join the Hudson Institute, giving him a platform to stay active in policy discussions and potentially run for president in 2024.

Why it matters: By aligning himself with the conservative think tank, Pompeo will keep close to the debates — and donors — that matter to the Republican Party.

Stark reminder for America's corporate leaders

Rosalind "Roz" Brewer is about to become only the second Black woman to permanently lead a Fortune 500 company. She starts as Walgreens CEO on March 15.

Why it matters: It's a stark reminder of how far corporate America's top decision-makers have to go during an unprecedented push by politicians, employees and even a stock exchange to diversify their top ranks.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated 1 hour ago - Technology

Apple's quarterly sales top $100 billion for first time

Credit: Apple

Spurred by strong sales of the latest iPhones, Apple reported it took in a record $111 billion in revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31, as the company crushed expectations.

Why it matters: The move showed even a pandemic didn't dull demand for Apple's latest smartphones.