What Happened: Russian hackers successfully gained access to the control rooms of electric utilities and could have caused blackouts in the United States, according to the U.S. Homeland Security Department, The Wall Street Journal reported July 23.
Why It Matters: It is unusual for the U.S. Homeland Security Department to publicly highlight operations from a foreign power against industrial control systems, but such attacks have the potential to cause physical damage.
Background: Russian state-sponsored hacking groups successfully infiltrated so-called air-gapped networks — which are physically isolated from other networks such as the internet — of utility companies between 2015 and 2017 by penetrating the networks of vendors working with the companies.
- Bending the Internet: Russia Catches Up on Internet Control (June 22, 2018)
- Industrial Espionage: Keeping an Eye on the Quiet Guy (May 8, 2018)
- Untangling the Web of Russia's Cyber Operations (April 28, 2017)