Top US conservative thinktank hit by cyberattack — Heritage Foundation hit once again

Global Satellite System
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Top US conservative thinktank, The Heritage Foundation, has said that it was struck by a cyberattack.

An official at the thinktank told Politico, which first broke the news, that in order to mitigate the threat, the organization “shut down its network to prevent any further malicious activity while we investigate the incident.”

According to TechCrunch, which spoke to a person with knowledge of the cyberattack, it is still not known who was behind the attack, or what data was stolen.

Possible nation state attack?

The Heritage Foundation places great importance on the threat posed by nation state cyber attacks, and having suffered an attack in 2015 that stole emails and personal details of its donors, it is unsurprising that the organization’s first suspect is a state-sponsored actor.

Think tanks are a lucrative target for nation state cyber attacks thanks to the donations they handle, and their influence on policy making in the US. Moreover, many former US administration officials have progressed  working at thinktanks, with former vice-president Mike Pence working as a distinguished visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation following Trump’s unsuccessful re-election in 2021.

The US government has already suffered a number of cyber attacks targeting federal agencies and government contractors in 2024, with the recent spate of Ivanti vulnerabilities associated with its Endpoint Management Software and its Connect Secure application.

Microsoft security vulnerabilities are also giving state-sponsored hackers a significant advantage in accessing confidential personal information among other data, with several federal agencies having emails stolen from the accounts of US officials by MidnightBlizzard, also tracked at APT29.

More from TechRadar Pro

Benedict Collins
Staff Writer (Security)

Benedict Collins is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Pro covering privacy and security. Benedict is mainly focused on security issues such as phishing, malware, and cyber criminal activity, but also likes to draw on his knowledge of geopolitics and international relations to understand the motivations and consequences of state-sponsored cyber attacks. Benedict has a MA in Security, Intelligence and Diplomacy, alongside a BA in Politics with Journalism, both from the University of Buckingham.