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Russian Hackers Have Penetrated U.S. Electric Utilities

U.S. federal government officials have revealed Russian hackers have been able to gain access to the networks of electric utilities in the country, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. “Hundreds of victims” have been claimed by a Russian state-sponsored group known as Dragonfly or Energetic Bear. According to the DHS officials, the attackers initiated the campaign by targeting employees of the utility companies’ suppliers. Using spear-phishing emails and watering-hole attacks, the hackers were able to gain access to the suppliers’ networks and steal suppliers’ credentials to access the utility networks.

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The wrong right of access Phil Howard  –  Jul 26, 2018 4:46 PM

Suppliers should not have direct access to utility networks, ever.  Utility staff should become fully trained on whatever is being supplied whether it be software or a pole transformer.  Any case where the utility has to get vendor help should always result in not only the vendor being supervised (to do the sign-ins) during this assistance, but also an adjustment to training to include the root of this issue so utility staff alone can deal with it directly in the future.  Whether access is a key to enter a substation or sign in to a control system for anything, only a minimal number of staff should ever have access.  Vendors need to be providing this level of security as an integral part of anything, especially if it can be networked.

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