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Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Russian Hackers Take Down Power Grid In Ukraine

by JASmius

Tactic deployed against their Ukrainian enemies, or another dry run for a massive cyberattack on the United States?

Answer: Yes:

Just before Christmas, power went out across western Ukraine. Soon after, the energy ministry confirmed it was exploring claims a cyber attack disrupted local energy provider Prykarpattyaoblenergo, causing blackouts across the Ivano-Frankivsk region on 23 December. The SBU state intelligence service said Russian attempts to disrupt the country’s power grid had been deflected, but did not comment on any specific attack.

The details were patchy. But today, the Computer Emergency Response Team of Ukraine – CERT-UA – told FORBES the outages were caused by an attack. National CERTs are in charge of coordinating responses to and investigations into cyber attacks. Eugene Bryksin, a member of the government organization, said it was working with Prykarpattyaoblenergo on the investigation but could provide no information other than to confirm the accuracy of the reports.

Fortunately, ARS Techica has the ominous details:

Researchers from antivirus provider ESET [my anti-virus software provider, as it happens] have confirmed that multiple Ukrainian power authorities were infected by “BlackEnergy,” a package discovered in 2007 that was updated two years ago to include a host of new functions, including the ability to render infected computers unbootable. More recently, ESET found, the malware was updated again to add a component dubbed KillDisk, which destroys critical parts of a computer hard drive and also appears to have functions that sabotage industrial control systems. The latest BlackEnergy also includes a backdoored secure shell (SSH) utility that gives attackers permanent access to infected computers.

Until now, BlackEnergy has mainly been used to conduct espionage on targets in news organizations, power companies, and other industrial groups. While ESET stopped short of saying the BlackEnergy infections hitting the power companies were responsible for last week’s outage, the company left little doubt that one or more of the BlackEnergy components had that capability. [emphases added]

This hack cut off power to a large region of Ukraine, inhabited by hundreds of thousands or millions of people, for days.  In the middle of the famed Russian winter.  There's no word I can find on what the civilians casualties were, but this attack demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt the extent of the Russians' cyberwarfare capabilities.

And remember, my friends, our own country's cyber infrastructure is both way more integrated and way less protected than is Ukraine's by deliberate Obama Regime policy.  Indeed, we can count on such a cyberattack against the U.S. being the opening salvo in the Sino-Soviet onslaught that conquers us once and for all.

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