This is in response to the article from Dec. 31, “Russian hackers got into U.S. power grid through Vt. utility.”
A lot of people have been hearing about “Russian hacking” and the dangers that come with coordinated state-sanctioned cyber attacks. And it is a serious threat.
However, I am one inclined to believe the facts of a story are what should be reported. The laptop computer in question from Burlington Electric Department was not connected to the U.S. power grid in any way.
The systems they use are to divert power in case of a blackout. To put it simply, they detect a power outage and then isolate it, divert power, and keep the blackout from affecting more customers. It could never cause an outage on its own. The Washington Post has since retracted its claim of grid penetration.
The Joint Analysis Report from the Department of Homeland Security and FBI states, “DISCLAIMER: This report is provided ‘as is’ for informational purposes only. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of any kind regarding any information contained within.”
This report is an expansion of the same report from Oct. 7, adding a list of alleged Russian civilian and military intelligence services offenders. When looking at this list it is worrying because the list is composed of names of malware programs. Powershell backdoor is not even a malware family but instead a classification of a capability that can be found in various malware families.
What is surprising is that everyone is focused on the alleged hacks, not the contents of what was found. Just ask yourself what was so important to leak publicly in the first place?
I leave you with this last reminder that H.R. 6393, Intelligence Authorization Act, is also state-sanctioned propaganda. But from the U.S. government to use on its own citizens.