Sequoia Capital, one of Silicon Valley’s most notable VC firms, told investors it was hacked

Sequoia Capital
Sequoia Capital offices on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, Calif.

One of Silicon Valley’s oldest and most venerable VC firms was hacked.

Sequoia Capital told its investors on Friday that some personal and financial information may have been accessed by a third party after one of its employees fell victim to a successful phishing attack, according to a report in Axios Friday. 

Sequoia told investors that it has not yet seen any indication that compromised information is being traded or otherwise exploited on the dark web, Axios reported.

A Sequoia spokesperson confirmed to Insider Saturday that it had “recently experienced a cybersecurity incident” that its security team was investigating. It had also notified law enforcement and was working with outside cybersecurity experts, the firm said.

“We regret that this incident has occurred and have notified affected individuals,” A Sequoia spokesperson told Insider. “We have made considerable investments in security and will continue to do so as we work to address constantly evolving cyber threats.”

Sequoia’s investors are called limited partners, and typically include large financial institutions such as university endowments, private family wealth offices, or sovereign wealth funds, but rarely do firms share information about their investors publicly.

Sequoia Capital is one of Silicon Valley’s oldest and most successful venture capital firms with more than $38 billion in assets under management, according to Pitchbook data. The 49-year-old venture capital firm has invested in companies such as Airbnb, DoorDash, and 23andMe. It has also invested in cybersecurity companies like FireEye and Carbon Black, according to its website. 

It does not appear that the hack was connected to the Solarwinds attacks, which included a larger breach of FireEye and has impacted government agencies and large technology companies like Microsoft.

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Here’s a list of the US agencies and companies that were reportedly hacked in the suspected Russian cyberattack

hacker person keyboard cyber security
The full extent of the attack is not yet known.

  • Thousands of companies and US government agencies were at risk of being spied on for months following a sweeping cyberattack reportedly carried out by Russian hackers.
  • The full extent of the attack is not yet known, but the list of victims is said to include the Department of Homeland Security and the Pentagon, among others.
  •  Read below for a list of the government agencies and firms that have reportedly been breached.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A massive cyber attack reportedly executed by a Russian intelligence agency put thousands of companies and US government agencies at risk of being spied on or having data stolen for up to nine months.

The software firm SolarWinds was breached earlier this year when hackers broke into its system and inserted malicious code into one of its software platforms. Customers who updated their software from March to June added the malware to their networks, giving the hackers a backdoor into their systems.

SolarWinds has hundreds of thousands of clients across the globe, including government agencies and most Fortune 500 companies. The company said up to 18,000 of its customers downloaded the software update that contained the malicious code.

Investigating the extent of the cyberattacks may take years, but some organizations have already emerged as compromised, meaning the hackers had potential access to their networks. But it will take long-term investigations for some firms and agencies to determine what data, if any, were stolen or manipulated.

Here’s a list of the major US agencies and firms that were reportedly breached:

Department of State

The State Department is among the US agencies said to have been breached, The Washington Post first reported. Russians had also hacked into part of the department’s system in 2014.

Department of Homeland Security

Reuters first reported the breach at the Department of Homeland security, the agency responsible for cybersecurity, border security, and, recently, the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine. The department’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency also oversaw the secure presidential election last month.

National Institutes of Health

The Post also reported the National Institutes of Health, housed in the Department of Health and Human Services, was also compromised. Reports emerged in the summer that the SVR, a Russian intelligence agency, had targeted the COVID-19 vaccine research.

The Pentagon

Parts of the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Department of Defense, were breached, an unnamed US official reportedly told The New York Times. The official said the extent of the attack was unknown.

Department of Energy

Politico reported the Energy Department, including its National Nuclear Security Administration, was subject to the cyber attack. In a statement, a spokesperson said the breach was “isolated to business networks only,” and did not impact national security functions of the department, which includes managing the nuclear weapons stockpile.

Department of the Treasury

The Treasury Department, which manages national finances, was among the first confirmed breaches of the federal government, Reuters reported. Hackers were reportedly spying on internal emails, but the extent of the attack is still unknown.

Department of Commerce

The Commerce Department was also one of the first agencies to have confirmed a breach. Sources told Reuters hackers also appeared to be spying on department emails.

State and local governments

Sources told Bloomberg that up to three state governments were hit by the attack, though they did not name which states. The Intercept reported that the network of the city of Austin, Texas was also breached.

Microsoft

Microsoft confirmed Thursday it was compromised in the cyberattack. Reuters initially reported the breach may have made the tech giant’s customers vulnerable, but Microsoft denied this. The company said there is no evidence its products or customer data were targeted.

FireEye

FireEye, one of the world’s leading cybersecurity firms, announced on December 8 that its systems had been hacked by a nation-state, marking the first discovery of the sweeping cyberattack.

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