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Russian hacking group Energetic Bear have hacked nuclear stations, now threaten USA election

Russians Who Pose Election Threat Have Hacked Nuclear Plants and Power Grid .    The hacking group, Energetic Bear, is among Russia’s stealthiest. It appears to be casting a wide net to find useful targets ahead of the election, experts said.  NYT, By Nicole Perlroth, Oct. 23, 2020

Cybersecurity officials watched with growing alarm in September as Russian state hackers started prowling around dozens of American state and local government computer systems just two months before the election.

The act itself did not worry them so much — officials anticipated that the Russians who interfered in the 2016 election would be back — but the actor did. The group, known to researchers as “Dragonfly” or “Energetic Bear” for its hackings of the energy sector, was not involved in 2016 election hacking. But it has in the past five years breached the power grid, water treatment facilities and even nuclear power plants, including one in Kansas………

Energetic Bear typically casts a wide net, then zeros in on a few high-value targets. In Germany and the United States, the group has infected websites popular in the energy sector, downloading malware onto the machines of anyone who visited the sites, then searching for employees with access to industrial systems.

In other attacks, it has hijacked the software updates for computers attached to industrial control systems. It has also blasted targets with phishing emails in search of employees, or co-workers, who might have access to critical systems at water, power and nuclear plants.

And it has done so with remarkable success. A disturbing screenshot in a 2018 Department of Homeland Security advisory showed the groups’ hackers with their fingers on the switches of the computers that controlled the industrial systems at a power plant.

The group has thus far stopped short of sabotage, but appears to be preparing for some future attack. The hackings so unnerved officials that starting in 2018, the United States Cyber Command, the arm of the Pentagon that conducts offensive cyberattacks, hit back with retaliatory strikes on the Russian grid……………

October 24, 2020 - Posted by | election USA 2020, Russia, secrets,lies and civil liberties

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