Mother Russia is on the march. Kremlin-backed hackers now have the ability to disrupt U.S. power grids that supply energy to thousands of Americans.
“The malware, which researchers have dubbed CrashOverride, is known to have disrupted only one energy system — in Ukraine in December,” reports The Washington Post. “In that incident, the hackers briefly shut down one-fifth of the electric power generated in Kiev. But with modifications, it could be deployed against U.S. electric transmission and distribution systems to devastating effect, said Sergio Caltagirone, director of threat intelligence for Dragos, a cybersecurity firm that studied the malware and issued a report Monday.”
The last attack that harnessed the power of this new cyberpower left 225,000 Ukranian customers without power.
“That attack, which left 225,000 customers without power, was carried out by Russian government hackers, other U.S. researchers concluded. U.S. government officials have not officially attributed that attack to the Russian government, but some privately say they concur with the private-sector analysis,” notes the Post.
Dragos and other U.S.-based cybersecurity firms informally call this group of elite Russian hackers “Electrum.” Another group, informally labeled “Sandstorm,” has also been involved in hacking into Ukraine’s energy supply over the last few years. Analysts believe that Sandstorm and Electrum may be one and the same.