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Over 1,000 energy firms were infected with a sophisticated cyber weapon that gave hackers access to power plant control systems, it has been revealed.
 
Called 'Energetic Bear', the malware was unmasked by security firm Symantec.
 
It said the software allows operators to monitor energy consumption in real time - and to cripple physical systems such as wind turbines, gas pipelines and power plants at the click of a mouse.
 

The attackers, known to Symantec as Dragonfly, managed to compromise a number of strategically important organizations for spying purposes and, if they had used the sabotage capabilities open to them, could have caused damage or disruption to energy supplies in affected countries.
 
The attack is believed to have compromised the computer systems of more than 1,000 organisations in 84 countries in a campaign spanning 18 months.
'Among the targets of Dragonfly were energy grid operators, major electricity generation firms, petroleum pipeline operators, and energy industry industrial equipment providers,' Symantec said.
 
'The majority of the victims were located in the United States, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, and Poland.' 
 
The most ambitious attack campaign saw it compromise a number of industrial control system (ICS) equipment providers, infecting their software with a remote access-type Trojan. 
 
This caused companies to install the malware when downloading software updates for computers running ICS equipment. 
 
These infections not only gave the attackers a beachhead in the targeted organizations? networks, but also gave them the means to mount sabotage operations against infected ICS computers.

 

 
 
I have a feeling this won't be the end of cyber threats to our electrical grid.

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So... Why are these critical systems connected to the public internet in the first place? :O

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So... Why are these critical systems connected to the public internet in the first place? :o

Good point.  There are ways of tunneling information and building a private network on the internet so you don't have to run your own cables, but while still effectively segregating you from the outside world.  I've done it before with hardware encryption devices on either end.

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Good. When it all comes together, the slophtware ungineering will be our downfall.

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Moved to Back Page News!

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