Department of Homeland Security officials told the WSJ that hackers from a group named Dragonfly or Energetic Dear, backed by the Russian government, targeted utility networks. They gained access to corporate networks by stealing “hundreds” of passwords through spear-phishing and watering-hole attacks.
The control that hackers had could have potentially caused blackouts and other disruptions to services.
Chief of Industrial-Control-System Analysis for DHS Johnathan Homer said, “They got to the point where they could have thrown switches.”
In 2017, Symantec reported that Russians gained access to power control grids. Now, the government has confirmed and provided details about the attack.
The WSJ report comes among mounting suspicion towards Russian cyberespionage and digital warfare. Intelligence agencies have all agreed that Russia hacked and interfered in the 2016 election and that the threat is ongoing.
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