DHS, FBI Warn: Russian Hackers Attacking Power Grid, Aviation
Credit: arbyreed
March 16, 2018

Looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend? You probably don't want to read this Bloomberg News report.

The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI issued an alert yesterday that "extremely sophisticated" Russian hackers are aggressively attacking on our electric grid, nuclear plants, aviation infrastructure and water plants. It was the first official confirmation of a story Bloomberg first reported in July.

"Since at least March 2016, Russian government cyber actors" have targeted "government entities and multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors," the statement said.

But the intrusions also include commercial facilities and manufacturing sectors, which hackers used to spread malware and gain remote access to targets including industrial control systems used by power plants and other infrastructure.

The attackers could, given the right access, leave millions without power or water, and cause massive aviation emergencies. Oh, and then there's the nukes:

Many of the targeted power plants are conventional, but the attacks included at least one nuclear power plant in Kansas, Bloomberg News reported in July. While the core of a nuclear generator is heavily protected, a sudden shutdown of the turbine can trigger safety systems. These safety devices are designed to disperse excess heat while the nuclear reaction is halted, but the safety systems themselves may be vulnerable to attack.

The operating systems at nuclear plants also tend to be legacy controls built decades ago and don’t have digital control systems that can be exploited by hackers.

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