The hacking and cyber attacks have always been one of the fears of governments and corporations. It is no longer rare to hear every week that a website has been hacked or have filtered the important data of a company through the Internet. But the attack we are talking about today goes further because it would go to the US grid.
Hackers Gain Switch-Flipping Access To US Power Systems
A fully connected world has its own advantages. We know what happens on the other side of the planet in a matter of minutes, we have access to a huge and incredible information network. But the Internet has also opened a new door for crime. And we are talking about a network, a bridge in two directions, in which millions of devices are connected.
The hacking and cyberattacks have always been one of the fears of governments and corporations. It is no longer rare to hear every week that a website has been hacked or have filtered the important data of a company through the Internet. But the attack we are talking about today goes further because it would go to the US grid.
Symantec, the security firm behind Norton, was the first to raise the alarm. As recently it has revealed the existence of Dragonfly 2.0, a computer attack aimed at dozens of power companies in the United States and Europe. In this series of attacks, hackers have managed to hack more than 20 American companies and one Turkish company.
The worrying thing about the case is that, in its investigation, Symantec claims that hackers have gained access to the controls of power companies. These unknown attackers would have control over the electrical infrastructure and could cut off the electrical power or cause equipment failures. This had only happened once before, and it was in Ukraine.
What these hackers did to gain access was to attack employees of power companies. And they did not do it with advanced techniques, used classic techniques and within reach of anyone. Fake emails with malicious attachments, hack frequently visited web pages, all to get the passwords of these employees.
Classic Attacks to Conquer a Great Goal
The reason for the attack is unknown, although Symantec analysts assume that it happens due to the political issues. It is also likely that these attackers were waiting for the best time to sabotage the US grid. In other words, they did not intend to carry out a solo attack and would like to support another kind of attack.
It is also unknown who may be behind of this attack. Part of the code has been found in Russian but also in French, so it is not reliable to rely on the language to recognize the author. Part of the difficulty in identifying it is also due to the use of common techniques to carry out the attack. It could be anyone with knowledge of hacking and social engineering.
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