Russia Blamed For Attacks On US Power Grid Starting In 2016

The Trump administration has blamed the Russian government for a series of cyber attacks targeting American and European nuclear power plants and other critical utilities dating back at least two years - raising fears that the Kremlin could disrupt the West's critical infrastructure in the event of a conflict. 

The hackers also targeted the overall energy sector, along with commercial facilities, aviation, manufacturing and the water supply, according to a U.S. security alert published Thursday. 

The Department of Homeland Security and FBI said in the alert that a “multi-stage intrusion campaign by Russian government cyber actors” had targeted the networks of small commercial facilities “where they staged malware, conducted spear phishing, and gained remote access into energy sector networks.” The alert did not name facilities or companies targeted. -Reuters

The report says that Russians used various hacking techniques, including spear-phishing emails, watering-hole domains, credential gathering and open-source and network reconnaissance.

Russian hackers made their way to machines with access to critical control systems at power plants that were not identified. The hackers never went so far as to sabotage or shut down the computer systems that guide the operations of the plants.

Still, new computer screenshots released by the Department of Homeland Security on Thursday made clear that Russian state hackers had the foothold they would have needed to manipulate or shut down power plants. -NYT

“We now have evidence they’re sitting on the machines, connected to industrial control infrastructure, that allow them to effectively turn the power off or effect sabotage,” said Eric Chien, a security technology director at Symantec, who added “From what we can see, they were there. They have the ability to shut the power off. All that’s missing is some political motivation.”

The New York Times notes that "American officials and security firms, including Symantec and CrowdStrike, believe that Russian attacks on the Ukrainian power grid in 2015 and 2016 that left more than 200,000 citizens there in the dark are an ominous sign of what the Russian cyberstrikes may portend in the United States and Europe in the event of escalating hostilities."

Meanwhile, Thursday's announcement from DHS marks the first official claim that the Kremlin attacked the power grid.

It was the first time the administration officially named Russia as the perpetrator of the assaults. And it marked the third time in recent months that the White House, departing from its usual reluctance to publicly reveal intelligence, blamed foreign government forces for attacks on infrastructure in the United States. -NYT

Vikram Thakur of Symantec Security Response said that gaining access to networks tied to various segments of U.S. infrastructure is extremely difficult, adding that cyberattacks like the ones described in the DHS announcement have the potential to cause significant damage. 

"The only thing that holds an attacker back is political motivation," Thakur told CNN, adding "Usually the bar for flipping the switch is extremely high."

The announcement coincided with the U.S. Treasury Department's Thursday decision to slap sanctions on 19 Russians and five groups - including the Kremlin's intelligence services for meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, along with various other cyber crimes. 

Russia has previously denied the charges. 

In December, 2016 the Washington Post erroneously reported  that Russian hackers had penetrated the electric grid in Vermont using malicious code associated with the hacking operation dubbed "Grizzly Steppe" by the Obama administration. WaPo corrected the story 48 hours later with the publication of a new article. 

Last July, however, the Department of Homeland Security reported that the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating corp in Kansas had been targeted by hackers in one of several breaches of U.S. nuclear plants. Hackers were thought to be mapping out computer networks for future attacks, according to the Times

That said, there has been a fair amount of pushback against the administration's claims of Russian hacking by both the Wolf Creek plant and the Nuclear Energy Institute.

Spokeswoman Jenny Hageman declined to say at the time if the plant had been hacked but said that there had been no operational impact to the plant because operational computer systems were separate from the corporate network. Hageman on Thursday said the company does not comment on security matters.

John Keeley, a spokesman for the industry group the Nuclear Energy Institute, said: “There has been no successful cyber attack against any U.S. nuclear facility, including Wolf Creek.” -Reuters

Meanwhile, watch out - China is beefing up their cyberweapons...

Comments

Pandelis Fri, 03/16/2018 - 05:58 Permalink

that is a shame, how dare they ... none else does this kind of activity ...yep

 

in other news the kudlow put did not seem to last too long ... yeah well, larry ... you tried.

Adolph.H. HockeyFool Fri, 03/16/2018 - 06:03 Permalink

Absolutely: it is the Isreali who first came with the "security analysis" of the U.S. power grid, along with scenarios of attack, and suddenly Russia got to be responsible out of the blue. 

Very convenient and reminds us that the empire desperately looks for any reason to start a war. They would not stop at anything like a mean psyop to reach their end. 

Russia does not escalate because the obvious strategy of the Empire is to pin the responsibility of any coming war on them. And the Empire badly needs a war because horrible economic collapse is impending and overdue. This is a race against time for them to get this war started and convert their failing economies in wartime ones.  Vlad is intelligent, capable and sensible enough to grasp this and let them collapse first before doing anything with his Chinese allies. Time will come, and the bill to be settled will be settled and not get forgotten. 

If Afghanistan is called the graveyard of the empires, mother Russia is more rustic; it is the woodchipper.

 

In reply to by HockeyFool

DillyDilly DeadFred Fri, 03/16/2018 - 08:12 Permalink

"Any proof it was the "Russians"

 

"Maybe they're not even Russians," "Maybe they're Ukrainians, Tatars, Jews, just with Russian citizenship. Even that needs to be checked. Maybe they have dual citizenship. Or maybe a green card. Maybe it was the Americans who paid them for this work. How do you know? I don't know."

~Vlad Putin

In reply to by DeadFred

hedgeless_horseman DillyDilly Fri, 03/16/2018 - 08:27 Permalink

 

Proof?

No.

But they have screenshots, The Tungsten Standard of fake evidence. Just manipulate the .PSD file, print it out, and have a Magic Negro on television wave it around in one hand held above the head while repeating the command, "we believe," and nodding the head in the affirmitive.

Still, new computer screenshots released by the Department of Homeland Security on Thursday made clear that Russian state hackers had the foothold they would have needed to manipulate or shut down power plants. -NYT

In reply to by DillyDilly

DillyDilly hedgeless_horseman Fri, 03/16/2018 - 08:40 Permalink

The thing that makes me laugh about all the fear mongering horseshit is that it's always a one way street. It's always the Russians, doing some whiz bang thing to "us". As if we have no capabilities to do whiz bang things to them.

 

So if you follow that to its logical conclusion.

 

I guess that means that their KUNG FU is stronger.

 

If the Russians are HACKERS

We're just HACKS

 

Worse, if the damn Israeli's are so advanced themselves as they brag about all the time, and they're our FRIENDS (& we send them all this money). Hey man, pitch in a little. Throw a nigga a bone!

 

Remind me again where all those INTEL chips are produced.

In reply to by hedgeless_horseman

TheAnswerIs42 hedgeless_horseman Fri, 03/16/2018 - 09:38 Permalink

Most of the actual system penetration is caused by some idiot clicking on an email and either getting a virus/trojan or just plain entering his login credentials on a familiar looking site. It's just not worth the time/effort to break into a modern firewall when advanced social engineering techniques are so much more effective. The active use of social media was a godsend for these people. Who could imagine running around naked in the office?

In reply to by hedgeless_horseman

D503 TheAnswerIs42 Fri, 03/16/2018 - 10:01 Permalink

Total bullshit. A couple dozen men armed with a typical hunting rifle, an atlas, and a time table written on a piece of paper, can bring down the grid for months by shooting the oil out of the transformer stations during a peak use heat wave. 

Total mission cost would be under $500k, damages in the billions, downtimes for weeks+, psychological damage unimaginable, looting, riots, and murder incalculable. 

"But muh secret russian cyber attacks on teh grid hurr derp."

In reply to by TheAnswerIs42

whackedinflorida Donate Moar Fri, 03/16/2018 - 12:18 Permalink

I too have wondered for years why there is not far more mayhem than there actually is. 

When I was a kid, about 40 years ago, we were Mayhem, Inc.  Vandalizing building sites, throwing rocks at cars, blowing things up constantly, shooting fireworks at houses.  And my crew was pretty mild compared to what other groups were doing. We also had group boxing/wrestling/mma fights, before anyone knew what that was.  IT was fight club for kids!

My kids wont do any of this, and I have 3 boys.  I even encourage a little mayhem.  They wont have it.  When I tell them stories, they think I'm crazy.  

Perhaps those 1st person shooter games that all the males play are enough of an outlet for the mayhem that exists in all of us. 

In reply to by Donate Moar

i poop pink ic… Donate Moar Fri, 03/16/2018 - 13:52 Permalink

Actually, this DID happen a few years ago on an electrical power distribution station in southern Santa Clara County, California. Seemed to me like a deep state false flag at the time. Little information (other than the occurrence itself) was ever released to the public. Later, I recall some U.S. military guy commenting that "Yeah, this is exactly how we would do it".

Found the link < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metcalf_sniper_attack&gt;

In reply to by Donate Moar

mkkby Blankone Fri, 03/16/2018 - 17:30 Permalink

Exactly!  If I were IT manager I would immediately disable/disconnect outside network lines.  I would also remove/disable all USB ports on computers.  Anybody needs a software install IT will do it over the network, or bring the external drives they need.

As a final step I would require all employees to leave their phones in the car or check it at the door for safekeeping.  Nobody needs to be distracted with facefuck while working at a nuclear plant.

In reply to by Blankone

Keyser serotonindumptruck Fri, 03/16/2018 - 20:12 Permalink

Show us the evidence, if you can, but you cannot because tracking down network intrusions is next to impossible... I should know, I was in charge of network security for a fortune 100 company for over a decade... With current techniques it is next to impossible to determine the SOURCE of said attacks... All you can do is to identify the intrusions and block the vulnerability from future attacks.. 

For the TLDR challenged: The is ZERO EVIDENCE that Russia compromised the power grid... 

In reply to by serotonindumptruck

DuneCreature wildbad Fri, 03/16/2018 - 06:33 Permalink

If the FBI is on the case the answer is 'Safe Bet'.

Many, many, many, many, many times.

And every time they have the definitive answers. .... Until they figure out how bad they've fucked-up the FF Op, ... THEN they panic!

 

~~~))) 'Good FBI Agents' Confused About Lost Vagrants SHOOTING Investigation!  (((~~~

 

Some confusion and worry about FBI Lost Wages? .. Hmmm..

Let me help you FBI Ace Pet Detectives out some. .. Do not worry I won't give it all away for you. ..... I'll leave you some of the juice, OK?

We all have to make a living, play nice with each other and share the intel. ....

I mean, I know being confused at your job can be a little overwhelming and quite taxing if you're not all rested up and ready for it. ... I can help.

Ok, here's the deal guys and you FBI Agentettes® huddling over there in the corner, this Los Vagrant shooting was a FALSE FLAG OPERATION. ...... See your FBI - PSYOPS Textbook© for a more 'torn flesh(ed) out' explanation and thorough description of what a false flag operation might look like if you weren't sent the memo from HQ on this one.

Now, don't get your panties and pensions all in a wad if you weren't read into the operation in advance. (You FBI Agentettes® can have a few minutes to go to the ladies' room and extract the cloth from your cracks if necessary. ..... I'll wait. ....... Guys, just jiggle a little in place. BUT please don't drop your un-properly retained back-up piece. .... Let's not have a negligent discharge here in all this excitement.)

.

.

.

All righty. .... Everyone more comfortable now? 

Good.

Like I was saying, this is your stereotypical FBI FALSE FLAG operation.

If you've never seen a False Flag up close and personal I can understand your slight bewilderment. .. I suggest you stay after work a few evenings and go to the old case files room, pull up a chair, and get out a few old case files. ... I suggest pulling the Sandy Hoax school shooting (This maybe mislabeled as Sandy Hook, BTW), Aurora CO Batman Movie shooting and perhaps pull the Boston Marathon Bombing files too. The last one will give you the difference in the props used between a bombing and a shooting for instance. .... Lots of moving parts to these false flags, so plan on spending several long nights coming up to speed on these ops.

It has come to my attention that some of you Good FBI Yo-Yos® have been complaining to the press about not being briefed in advance about this operation. .... Don't look at the floor and ceiling acting like you don't know what I'm talking about here either.

See this:  Whiney FBI Agents Have Issues With Doing The 'Right Thing' .........Again.

Understand that the FBI needs at least a few agents that can go to the public with a straight face and talk about this horrible event without letting the 'cat out of the bag'. ... I KNOW you were trained about 'Need-To-Know', right? ... Of course, you were. ... Well, you just didn't.. need... to... fucking... know,......you dumbasses.

I told you at the beginning of this little heads up session that I would leave you plenty to investigate. ... We all need to keep busy.

The first thing the FBI needs to investigate is; Who dispatched all of these LVPD cops, lights flashing and sirens screaming, to the Route 99 concert venue BEFORE our patsy got his first shots off. .. THAT shit is really embarrassing the department and all LEOs involved and needs to be squelched and covered-up. ASAP. ... The trouble is there are 1000s of copies of this video out there already.

Uh OOOOOOH!, ..... Shit, Shit, Shit, Shit, Shit!

The second thing the Bureau needs to figure out is who the bad guys are this week. .......You need to find someone OUTSIDE of the DoJ to pin this fuck-up on. .. If you go with ISIS and the CIA, the Israelis will be pissed off. (NEVER piss-off the Israelis. .. They are the false flag masters and have been known to blow up half a dozen sky scrapers in one day and blame it on some dumb patsies. .... (Yes! I AM looking at you FBI Agentettes over there in the corner. ... You piss off Yuri and he will make you take the rap for Team FBI Screw-Ups. ... I have no idea what a 'rap' is in Hebrew or where Yuri might stick it. So you don't want to piss Yuri off,..........if you're smart. Right, ladies?)

The FBI could go with a homegrown terrorist gang as patsies and they had one set up but some dumb cop shot the whole gang in one fit of panic and then lost a couple of the gang bodies at the coroner's office.

AND WHO put this Ridiculous Rumble video together with Hoover's mug flashing through it?? ... Find HIS stupid ass!!!!!

Fresh From The FBI Cover-Up Lab - (It only took a few months to make this! .. A panicky afterthought maybe?.......Pretty good, huh?)

Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. .... So, see there is a bright side for you clueless FBI Junior Ranked G-Men or Agentettes® who were not read in to the False Flag Op to begin with. .... All that sloppy work won't show up on YOUR performance and fitness reports.

Live Hard, I Don't Know What You FBI Clueless Clowns Are Going To Tell The US Military Tribunal But Your Retirement Pensions Are Safe At HQ, Die Free

~ DC v8.8

In reply to by wildbad

new game DuneCreature Fri, 03/16/2018 - 06:46 Permalink

some gumshoe stuff, sniffing the trail of funding. now that would get interesting fast.

i believe there is a totally rogue branch of the gov.org, that answers to no one, i repeat -no one.

they are self funded. since they are rogue, the funding part would be easy-inside info alone would allow the gaming of the markets to achieve ample funding.

complete secrecy, complete, for life trill seeker need apply or sought out in this case.

your life is ours...

In reply to by DuneCreature

DuneCreature new game Fri, 03/16/2018 - 06:55 Permalink

AND they use AI to plan things out.

Then when the instructions are put into action on the ground the field operators are complete fuck-ups and they have to run back to AI to bail their asses out.

Only the lower layers are about being crooks for 'money'.

Those are the expendable layers of the onion. .. Patsies covering patsies, covering cut-outs, covering for the (((top dogs of evil))).

Live Hard, AI AL Loves Layering Up And Making Things Very Confusing, Die Free

~ DC v8.8

In reply to by new game

Dilluminati BennyBoy Fri, 03/16/2018 - 07:36 Permalink

Probably the only objective post, yes "everybody" seems to be doing it.   Another issue that I can't help but notice is the piss poor shape of Microsoft updates, to really add calamity to computer security it requires Microsoft and their lame ass updates and broken fucking software, and some irrational and misguided concept that shoving a fucking tablet software on a fucking desktop too damn heavy to haul around.. and then shoving a fucking listening device and a shared cloud folder onto that, and then have you go in circles of fucking REBOOT

You have to restart the windows update again

Windows Update Components must be repaired (NOT FIXED)

Checking pending restart (redmond loop) 

Potential windows Update Database error detected (fixed)

You see how it starts with not fixed, restart, and fixed.. well that my friends is the ridiculous cocksuckers at Redmond the despicable cunts and the sad fucking state of security..

Blame Microsoft for doing anything they want to undermine security and a fucking brain dead congress who doesn't wedge a foot in this companies ass to fix KB4088776 the cocksuckers

In reply to by BennyBoy

Dilluminati Ace006 Fri, 03/16/2018 - 15:50 Permalink

What a stinking fucking turd of an OS Windows 10 is.  I'm getting candy crush shoved at me and other bullshit "welcome to the internet" as if all the fucking wet behind the ears cunts need such a despicable shitty OS like win 10 professional.  I don't want the fucking store, I'm not your consumer bitch, don't want any of your telemetry..

next conflict we can all stand around in the aftermath and marvel at what splendid cocksuckers MSFT has become.

In reply to by Ace006

SoDamnMad HockeyFool Fri, 03/16/2018 - 06:29 Permalink

Don't confuse me with the facts, I've already made up my mind.

We have been warned about EMP attacks on the grid. Have we done anything over the last decade, NO.

We have been warned about this as well as large holes in many of our support systems.  Have we done anything about them, NO

There are a lot of bright minds all over the world who hate us, any could have pulled this off.

Even our dancing Israelis who shot up the USS Liberty could have done it.

In reply to by HockeyFool

Sudden Debt HockeyFool Fri, 03/16/2018 - 06:53 Permalink

THE REAL QUESTION IS WHY AMERICA HAS A DEFENSE BUDGET THAT IT 1500% HIGHER THEN AMERICA AND IT CAN'T EVEN DEFEND ITSELF AGAINST A SIMPLE HACK!!!

 

FRAUD AND CORRUPTION IN AMERICA IS THE ENEMY!!

 

700 BILLION IN DEFENSE BUDGETS IN AMERICA!! BLACK OPS NOT INCLUDED! SECRET SERVICES NOT INCLUDED!

RUSSIA => 42 BILLION AND IT'S STRONGER THEN AMERICA????

 

WOW WAW WOW! THAT'S ALL I CAN SAY!

In reply to by HockeyFool