Russian hackers behind ‘world’s most murderous malware’ probing U.S. power grid

hydrostor grid of the future power mem4

A hacking group linked to the Russian government has been attempting to breach the U.S. power grid, Wired reports.

Security experts from the non-profit group the Electric Information Sharing and Analysis Center (E-ISAC) and security firm Dragos tracked the hackers — and warn that the group has been probing the grid for weaknesses, searching for ways that they could access U.S. systems.

Even though there are no signs that the group has succeeded in accessing the power grid, the attacks still have experts worried. And that’s partly because of the history of this particular hacking group: Xenotime, who created the infamous Triton malware. In late 2017, Triton attacked critical infrastructure such as the industrial control systems used in power plants, and it could have been used to cause massive destruction through tampering with power plant controls. That lead it to be labeled the “world’s most murderous malware.”

The recent events aren’t the first time the U.S. power grid has been subject to an attempted attack. In 2016, a state-sponsored Russian group tried to hack American utilities via the compromised email account of a contractor, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. The idea was to compromise a low-level target (the contractor) and then work their way up the chain of security through phishing and other tactics. The attack targeted 60 different utilities and succeeding in breaching 24 of them.

A similar attack was launched against the power grid of Ukraine in 2015, which was the first known hack against a power grid to succeed. The hackers were able to disrupt the supply of electricity after compromising security through the use of spear phishing attacks. The total amount of electricity interrupted was relatively small, at 73 MWh or or 0.015% of daily electricity consumption in the country, but it shows what is possible from such hacks. Once again the blame was placed on Russia, in this case a hacking group known as Sandworm.

If hackers are able to compromise the U.S. power grid, they could potentially cause a long-term power outage. And that means more than just the lights going out. A large scale outage could be devastating for emergency services, hospitals, power plants, water treatment, and many more essential services. And that’s on top of the chaos that would erupt when ordinary people suffer outages in their homes.

The security of the power grid might sound like a problem that should be fixed as a matter of urgency, but unfortunately it’s not that easy. Because of the distributed nature of utilities and the varying state and federal regulations, securing the grid completely may be almost impossible.

Computing

How Beto O’Rourke’s hacker group changed cybersecurity as we know it

While the revelation that 2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke was once a member of America’s most storied hacker collectives put Cult of the Dead Cow on the map for most people, it had a much greater impact on the cybersecurity…
Computing

TrickBot returns with new attack that compromised 250 million email addresses

TrickBot returns with a new attack that teams up the malware with a module dubbed TrickBooster. An investigation into TrickBooster's servers discovered a database with 250 million compromised email accounts.
News

A new phishing scam targets Amazon users just in time for Prime Day

Security researchers at McAfee say that hackers have released a do-it-yourself kit that allows people to easily put together phishing scams targeting Amazon users -- just in time for Prime Day.
Computing

Why recent hacks show Apple’s security strength, not its weakness

It may sound strange, but the recent stories about vulnerabilities in Apple’s security could be good news for the firm. That’s because they went a long way to highlighting its strengths -- and the strengths it has traditionally had over…
Computing

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 gets a $140 price cut before Prime Day

We’ve already gathered some pre-Prime Day MacBook deals, but if you’re not a fan of Apple, this MacBook Surface Laptop 2 discount is worth a look. Though there will likely be more Prime Day laptop deals coming down the pipeline.
Deals

Early Prime Day deals: MacBook, 4K TV, AirPods, and Apple iPad discounts

Prime Day 2019 is coming fast and great early deals pop up every day. We've been tracking the hottest categories including smart home devices, 4K TVs, laptops, and headphones pulling out the best deals.
Deals

Walmart Prime Day sale: 4K TV, iPad, and Nintendo Switch Deals

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is here, and thousands of deals are already live. Of course, we should have known Walmart wasn't just going to sit back and let Amazon bask in the glory of its own Prime Day deals.
Deals

The Apple iPad Pro gets a huge $175 discount for Walmart’s Prime Day sale

Whenever online retailers battle for supremacy, shoppers usually win. And that's definitely the case with Walmart's iPad deals going on right now. If you're in the market for a 10.5-inch iPad Pro, you can pick one up with a $175 discount.
Deals

HP offers up its own sweet deals on Spectre x360 laptops for Prime Day 2019

Prime Day doesn't just mean Amazon's having a huge sale for its Prime members. Other companies like HP are offering their own deals and discounts. In fact, check out HP's current sale on its Spectre x360 laptops.
Deals

Best Prime Day Apple deals: iPad, MacBook, and AirPods discounts

Prime Day is officially here, and there are still some nice Apple deals to be had during Amazon's big event. We’ve rounded up iPads, Macbooks, and more, along with a quick and handy guide detailing what Apple deals you can expect to find.
Deals

Best Prime Day Apple deals: iPads, MacBooks, and Apple Watches

Prime Day is officially here, and there are still some nice Apple deals to be had during Amazon's big event. We rounded up a few right here, along with a quick and handy guide detailing what Apple deals you can expect to find.
Deals

The Eero Pro Wi-Fi system is $200 off in early Amazon Prime Day deal

Amazon Prime Day is a fine time to upgrade your home Wi-Fi system. Now, Amazon Prime members only can secure an early Prime Day deal on a mesh network wireless router, with the Eero Pro Wi-Fi system now just $299.
Smart Home

Amazon cuts prices on Google Wi-Fi mesh network router for Prime Day

Amazon cut prices on Google Wi-Fi mesh wireless network devices for Prime Day 2019. Google Wi-Fi systems mesh network routers are expandable. If you use a conventional router and want faster Wi-Fi, these deals can help you save.
Computing

Razer slashes up to 50% off mice, keyboards, and Blade laptops for Prime Day

Gamers can get all sorts of deals during Amazon's annual Prime Day sales event. For Prime Day 2019, you can grab Razer gaming mice, keyboards, and Blade laptops at discounts of up to 50% off. These deals start on Monday, July 15.