US power plants subject to hacking

Cybersecurity specialists are investigating an attempt to hack multiple power plants on American soil in recent weeks, but have so far failed to identify the perpetrators.

US President Donald Trump is expected to broach the subject of hacking with Russian leader Vladimir Putin today when the two meet for the first time at the G20 summit in Germany. It comes as news emerged that at least 12plants in the US were hacked recently, with Russian involvement high on the list of security officials’ concerns.
Cyberattack imagery
The Independent online reports that hackers working for a foreign government recently breached at least a dozen USà‚ power plants, including the Wolf Creek nuclear facility in Kansas, according to current and former USà‚ officials, sparking concerns the attackers were searching for vulnerabilities in the electrical grid.

The rivals could be positioning themselves to eventually disrupt the nation’s power supply, warned the officials, who noted that a general alert was distributed to utilities a week ago. Adding to those concerns, hackers recently infiltrated an unidentified company that makes control systems for equipment used in the power industry, an attack that officials believe may be related.

The chief suspect is Russia, according to three people familiar with the continuing effort to eject the hackers from the computer networks.

“We don’t pay attention to such anonymous fakes,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, in response to a request to comment on alleged Russian involvement.

In an earlier speech in Warsaw, Trump called out Russia’s “destabilising activities” and urged the country to join “the community of responsible nations.”

The Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation said they are aware of a potential intrusion in the energy sector. The alert issued to utilities cited activities by hackers since May.

à‚ “There is no indication of a threat to public safety, as any potential impact appears to be limited to administrative and business networks,” the government agencies said in a joint statement.

The Department of Energy also said the impact appears limited to administrative and business networks and said it was working with utilities and grid operators to enhance security and resilience.

Government officials look at the sophistication of the tools, among other key markers, when gauging whether a foreign government is sponsoring cyber activities.

à‚ “We don’t tie this to any known group at this point,” said Sean McBride, a lead analyst for FireEye Inc, a global cybersecurity firm. “It’s not to say it’s not related, but we don’t have the evidence at this point.”

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