State Department shuts down its email service because of hackers

Wire service reports from Washington say that the U.S. State Department has taken the unprecedented step of shutting down its entire unclassified email system, in the wake of a suspected hacker attack. This is the same system that staffers at the U.S. Embassy here use to communicate with expats.

There has been no local word about the situation, but the embassy Web site was lacking some key features Sunday night.

Technicians are repairing possible damage from an attack that occurred at about the same time as another one on the White House computer network, reported last month, the wire service report said.

Since the White House email attack, several government agencies, including the U.S. Postal Service and the National Weather Service, have reported attacks, the services added.

Chinese or Russian hackers have been blamed for the earlier attacks, but this has not been publicly confirmed.

The State Department is expected to address the shutdown once the security improvements have been completed on today or Tuesday.

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