Saturday, December 31, 2016

Did Russia Try To Hack Into A Vermont Power Utility?

Bloomberg: Russian Hacking Code Found in Vermont Power Utility Computer

* Utility said the laptop wasn’t connected to the power grid
* Homeland Security alerted power providers to search for code

Computer code connected to Russian cyberattacks by U.S. intelligence agencies has been found hidden in a laptop at a Vermont public utility, a development that emerged a day after the Obama administration hit Russia with sanctions for hacking in this year’s U.S. election.

The laptop wasn’t connected to the power grid at the time, the Burlington Electric Department said in a statement Friday. It said it scanned its computer network and found the malware after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security sent out an alert about the code to owners and operators of critical infrastructure.

“We took immediate action to isolate the laptop and alerted federal officials of this finding,” utility spokesman Mike Kanarick said in the statement. “Our team is working with federal officials to trace this malware and prevent any other attempts to infiltrate utility systems. We have briefed state officials and will support the investigation fully.”

Read more ....

Update #1: Russia-linked malware found on US electric company’s laptop (AP)
Update #2: 'Russia hacking code' found on Vermont utility computer (BBC)
Update #3: Cyberattacks Raise Alarm for U.S. Power Grid (WSJ)

WNU Editor: The Washington Post is pushing this story (it is behind a paywall) .... Russia-linked malware found on US electric company's laptop (Washington Post) .... but it is raising more questions than answers. For one .... they found this code one day after the warning was issued by DHS .... I know a little bit about computers, doing a review and finding a code this fast is next to impossible. Two .... the computer that was infected was not even linked to the grid .... so why the panic? Three .... malware and in its many forms are everywhere on the internet .... the claim that it is Russian is a stretch in my book.

Update #4: Not surprising .... this story is now getting ripped apart as "fake news" ....

The somewhat dubious “Russia hacked the Vermont power grid” story (Hot Air)
'The Grid Was Not in Danger': Media Raced to Publish Story on Russia Hacking Our Power Grid Before the Facts (Town Hall)
Washington Post flubs report on Russia hacking utility company (Washington Examiner)

Update #5: Russia responds .... ‘Russian hackers’ penetrate US power grid with ‘outdated Ukrainian malware’ (RT).

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