OAKLAND, CA. – Late Wednesday, several federal agencies issued a warning to corporate executives and their IT security departments. It states that an anonymous attacker has released malicious and invasive computer programs capable of gaining “full system access” to several industrial control systems, especially utility systems. Other experts say Russia is the source.
Evidence gathered suggests that Russia’s cyber warfare tools are designed to target energy companies in North America. 85% of all US critical infrastructure is in the hands of private companies such as Pacific Gas and Electric, Chevron, Wells Fargo, Intel, Sutter Health and others.
Crowdstrike, a leading cybersecurity technology company providing security, threat intelligence and cyberattack response services, says this about Russian government cyberwarriors and cybercriminal gangs working on behalf of Putin: “From our point of view and from our research, they are certainly among the best”. said Michael Sentonas, chief technology officer of Crowdstrike. This is based on Crowdstrike’s assessment of how efficient Russian hackers are, how quickly they can hack into secure sites, and their so-called business craft in high-stakes, high-security heists and holdovers. systems control.
“When we talk about cyberware, we actually have to think about the average organization, large and small, privatized critical infrastructure. They are all potentially at risk here. Just because we haven’t seen a widespread cyberattack, which is interesting in itself, doesn’t mean people haven’t already been exposed,” Sentonas said.
In other words, many systems may have already been implemented, but the attack has not yet been launched. “People need to take that time to make sure they’re prepared, that they can defend themselves,” Sentonas said.
The attacks would take the form of “denial of service”. Thus, much inbound traffic directed to a utility, bank, online retailer, or healthcare provider that the customer or provider does not have access to is impossible. Another aggression, much more punitive: the so-called “wiper” attacks, transmitting malicious software into the system of a target, which literally destroys their computers.
“There will be impacts. That’s for sure. But we have to make sure we can recover as quickly as possible,” Sentonas said. But the United States and NATO have similar counterattack capabilities. “Certainly a question for the government. But, it’s reasonable to expect the US government and other governments to have the capability. We have to do this. Every government has built that capability. And the idea behind it all that’s what system you’re attacking is just rendered unusable,” Sentonas said.
So, with this new federal warning, we could indeed be on the brink of a cyberwar where there will be serious casualties on both sides.