Russian hackers reportedly gained access to U.S. electric utilities control rooms

Russian hackers break into air-gapped US networks

Russian hackers break into air-gapped US networks

Russian hackers working for a state-sponsored cyber-espionage unit could have caused electricity blackouts in the USA previous year after gaining access to some utility control rooms, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official disclosed this week.

The hackers, who worked for a Russian state-sponsored group known as Dragonfly or Energetic Bear, claimed "hundreds of victims" in 2017, according to officials at the Department of Homeland Security, the Journal reported.

He said the attackers began by using conventional tools - spear phishing e-mails and watering-hole attacks, which trick victims into entering their passwords on malware-infected websites - to compromise the corporate networks of suppliers, many of whom were small companies without big budgets for cybersecurity.

Just Russian hackers claiming "hundreds of victims" to infiltrate USA electric utilities, giving them the ability to cause blackouts.

"They got to the point where they could have thrown switches", Jonathan Homer, chief of industrial-control-system analysis for DHS, told the Journal.

But this is the first time the DHS has provided detailed information about an incident in an unclassified setting and said the hack affected "hundreds of victims".

They then stole credentials from those corporations to gain access to the utilities.

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It also said some companies still may not know they have been compromised, because the attacks used credentials of actual employees to get inside utility networks, potentially making the intrusions more hard to detect.

Inside the utility networks, the hackers were able to harvest other sensitive information: how the networks were configured, what equipment was used, and normal operating procedures.

Russian Federation reportedly denies targeting the U.S.'s critical infrastructure. "They are waging a covert war on the West".

Officials said the cyberattack campaign likely remains ongoing.

The Department of Homeland Security says it will conduct four briefings to determine how Russian Federation is hacking our systems and to determine if it's part of a bigger attack in the future.

In conducting the underwater operations, Russians were "doing their homework and, in the event of a crisis or conflict with them, they might do rotten things to us", Michael Kofman, a Russian military expert at nonprofit research group CNA Corp., told the Associated Press.

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