A Russia-based hacker group reportedly entered the US power grid last year. According to US authorities, the hackers could have caused blackouts.
At a time when many technical aspects of our societies are all or partly automated, the danger of computer intrusions has become all the more menacing. Among the many targets is the US national electricity grid, which was targeted last year, according to an article published on July 23, 2018 in the Wall Street Journal.
According to US media – citing US national security sources – blackouts could have been caused by the intrusion of hackers from the Russian group Dragonfly, also known as Energetic Bearde. It is also a group of pirates supported by the Russian government, which was able to paralyze the Ukrainian electricity grid in 2016. The blackout had at the time involved no less than 15 million people (a third of the population), although it lasted only a few hours.
According to US Homeland Security, attacks by this Russian group on the US power grid in 2016 and 2017 had reached a point where power cuts could have been caused. Moreover, the officials do not exclude that the hacking campaign is still ongoing. This follows the accusations of a dozen Russian hackers in 2016, suspected of launching cyber attacks on the Democratic Party just before the elections.
Computer security of automated devices is becoming increasingly important today. This encourages cybersecurity companies to point out the weaknesses of certain systems. Recall for example that in 2016, experts have very easily hacked a water treatment plant and others have been able to hack a remote airliner in 2017!