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Russian Cyberattacks Targeted Power Plants

by Countable | Updated on 3.16.18

What’s the story?

  • The Department of Homeland Security and FBI have accused Russia of remotely targeting "critical infrastructure," including energy, nuclear, water, and aviation sectors.

  • The agencies describe the attacks as "a multi-stage intrusion campaign by Russian government cyber actors."

What did the "Russian cyber actors" do?

  • In their Technical Alert, the FBI and DHS explained how the hackers targeted "small commercial facilities’ networks where they staged malware, conducted spear phishing, and gained remote access into energy sector networks."

  • This is the first time the U.S. has publicly accused Russia of hacking the American energy infrastructure.

  • "We now have evidence [Russian hackers are] sitting on the machines, connected to industrial control infrastructure, that allow them to effectively turn the power off or effect sabotage," Eric Chien, a security technology director at Symantec, told the New York Times. “From what we can see, they were there. They have the ability to shut the power off. All that’s missing is some political motivation.”

How is the energy sector responding?

  • Energy Secretary Rick Perry said the Department of Energy has "worked closely with government partners and energy sector asset owners to help ensure attempts failed or were stopped."

  • Perry added: "This event demonstrates exactly why I am creating an Office of Cyber Security and Emergency Response (CESER). It is crucial for the DOE to consolidate and strengthen our efforts to combat the growing nefarious cyber threats we face."

  • The report came the same day the U.S. Treasury imposed fresh economic sanctions on five "entities" and 19 individuals for interfering in the 2016 presidential election and for conducting a series of cyberattacks.

What do you think?

Is the U.S. prepared for these types of cyberattacks? Are we imposing sufficient sanctions on Russia? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

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(125)
  • Patty
    03/16/2018
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    We need to use part of our defense budget for cyber security, not building more ships and tanks that are pork barrel contracts and outdated by the time they are built.

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  • Kyle
    03/17/2018
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    Some of the very large military budget could easily be used to help support more funding for cyber security. With the advancements in technologies around the globe it is imperative that we are ready if something larger than the attacks seen so far

    Like (48)
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  • John
    03/16/2018
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    Perhaps the government should spend money on cyber security instead of more planes and ships and tanks and parades and walls and golf outings and security for business trips of 45’s spawn.

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  • Rebecca
    03/17/2018
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    Russian cyberattacks on American infrastructure make it clearer than ever that Russia is not. our. friend. We must take measures to safeguard our country- including our elections- from Russian interference. And part of that safeguarding process must include a complete investigation of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and its ties to the Trump organization! The firing of McCabe makes it clear that Trump has something to hide.

    Like (36)
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  • David
    03/16/2018
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    I grew up during the end of the Cold War, Russians were the enemy and everyone knew that, I don’t think much has changed. The United States needs to take a strong stance against Russia’s behavior. The current administration has made it clear it is not going to do anything in regards to the Russians this will only make it harder for the new administration in three years.

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  • Scott
    03/17/2018
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    This is unacceptable. Further economic sanctions and penalties should be levied against Russia. Let’s liquidate Russian oligarch assets as well.

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  • BeStrong
    03/16/2018
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    While Mr Trump dreams of Starship Troopers serving in his Space Force or landing on Mars (Elon Musk’s got this)...we need a cyber security brain trust right here on planet earth. Hire the best and brightest or outsource the hiring to US companies and let’s win the Cyber-Space wars. It’s time to be the most competent, not the most bombastic. Make America Highly Competent Again.

    Like (14)
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  • Mark
    03/16/2018
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    The Russian state and Vladimir Putin have sought to illicit unrest in stable democracies with the intent of undermining those democracies. The Russian state has attacked civilian airliners, illegally annexed portions of entire countries and continues to represent a threat to American sovereignty and the free world. And yet, Donald J Trump, congress and the GOP refuse to act in defense of our nation and our national security. This is unacceptable. It is time for the nations of NATO to unite to reign in the threat coming from Russia, Russian oligarchs and Vladimir Putin.

    Like (13)
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  • Anne
    03/16/2018
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    What on earth has happened to the Republicans that they barely raise their voices to advocate for something to be done in the face of this? We are no longer seen as a strong country and Putin is taking advantage of it.

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  • jane
    03/17/2018
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    The attacks against America by Russia are ramping up and our president has to be pushed to even acknowledge it. Russia doesn’t have to bomb the United States; it could hack us into a nuclear meltdown with our own systems that can cause more damage nationwide! If you refuse to take action, Mr Toomey, you will be forever attached to any of the consequences of your inaction. You will be forced to either defend your executive chief or shrug with helplessness and abdicate your position to Trump.

    Like (9)
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  • Marylynn
    03/16/2018
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    Has anyone heard Bone Spurs call out Putin on this? No, and you won't. He's Putin's puppet....

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  • Joshua
    03/17/2018
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    The Lame Donald Duck usually has something to say about everything. Strange how silent he is on all this Russia business.

    Like (8)
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  • Guy
    03/17/2018
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    Russia is not an ally and this is not new news. Fight back with counter intelligence and sanctions where appropriate.

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  • Hillary
    03/17/2018
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    So what are we doing to prepare? Have we developed a domestic “intranet” to run the power grid instead of the worldwide internet? Have we taken some of these stations completely offline to protect our power sources? Have our elected officials done anything but deny collusion with Russia and stand around wringing their hands? How can any sane public servant not realize that the level of abnormality has reached dangerous levels? Quit waiting for the person beside you to make the first move! ACT NOW!

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  • Susan
    03/17/2018
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    If you don’t do something to stop this then you are guilty of treason and collusion

    Like (6)
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  • Andy
    03/16/2018
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    I don't think the U.S. is ready for a Russian cyber attack. We need to use some of our defense budget for cyber security. We have enough guns and other stuff for our military. We need more cyber protection.

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  • Lisa
    03/16/2018
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    Trump is unfit for office as many have come forward to say. Trump uses active measures himself to deflect any topic of conversation that puts a spotlight connecting him to Russia. America, we the people, our democracy and safety are at stake because so long as Trump and his administration are in office they are a target for blackmail and manipulation!!! Where is the leadership that should be striking out and making our infrastructure impenetrable? Where is the leadership that will stand up to Russia and enforce strict sanctions equal to Russia’s interference? Russia’s Cyberattacks have gone too far!! It’s CRYSTAL CLEAR THE GOP WILL DO NOTHING TO EXCEPT HELP THEMSELVES!!! Wake Up Do Your Jobs!

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  • Susan
    03/17/2018
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    All sanctions need to be enforced. If trump won’t, you need to make it happen.

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  • Mark
    03/17/2018
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    Donald Trump has fired Mr. McCabe. Donald J Trump has replaced Benedict Arnold as the greatest traitor in the history of the United States. The GOP, once known for their support of national security and the constitution has defended and excused the actions of a traitor. It is time to put aside politics. The United States and her allies must destroy Vladimir Putin. We must unite as a country against those who seek to take our democracy.

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  • Gopin2018
    03/17/2018
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    Let our CIA do the same to the Russians , strengthen our electrical grids to protect them better.

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