Wednesday, 4 January 2017

On 00:16 by admin   No comments
Russia and the United States haven’t been sharing the best of relations nowadays primarily due to alleged Russian state-sponsored hackers’ involvement in numerous hack attacks that affected US presidential elections. Only a few days back, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) published a reportin which the departments’ assessment regarding the involvement of Russian hackers in a series of cyber-attacks on US citizens and agencies was presented in detail. The report clearly pointed towards Russia for encouraging such acts.
What followed suite was rather a harsh reaction from Obama administration. President Obama not only issued sanctions but expelled around 35 Russians from America and not to forget that code linked to the involved hackers were also shared with several other agencies. It was, therefore, time for Russia to make its move and apparently they did so rather quickly.
Reportedly, malware was discovered in the Burlington Electric Department on Friday that contained a matching signature on one of its laptops, which is quite an alarming discovery as it is again pointing towards the involvement of Russian hackers. It is worth noting that recently, Russian government sponsored hacker group attacked Ukraine’s power grid.
According to a report from The Washington Post, Russian cyber attackers managed to obtain access to the electrical grid through Vermont utility. But, the statement released by the company maintains that no such incident occurred and the laptop was not linked or concerned to the grid systems. As per Christopher Recchia, Vermont Public service Commissioner, the grid wasn’t at risk either.
Currently, we have no information about the matched signature and there is no news about what actually has matched. But it could possibly the result of a shared code or a false positive. It is also unclear how and when the laptop got infected with the malware.
Various security researchers expressed their views on Twitter; a majority of them suggested that it was a better strategy to refrain from jumping on to conclusions that the latest power grid attack was actually Grizzly Steppe, a name that the US agencies have attributed to Russia’s hacking spree against political institutions in the US.
Burlington Electric Department quickly scanned the entire computer systems while Vermont utility issued this statement: “We acted quickly to scan all computers in our system for the malware signature. We detected the malware in a single Burlington Electric Department laptop not connected to our organization’s grid systems. We took immediate action to isolate the laptop and alerted federal officials of this finding.”
However, US politicians and authorities are quite enraged over the latest developments. Democratic governor Peter Shumlin stated that: “Vermonters and all Americans should be both alarmed and outraged that one of the world’s leading thugs, Vladimir Putin, has been attempting to hack our electric grid, which we rely upon to support our quality-of-life, economy, health, and safety.”
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