Hackers Are Becoming Smarter and More Adaptable to Technological Innovations
Sophisticated hackers are now targeting energy and industrial firms – the latest sign that cyber attacks present an increasing threat to the power industry and other public infrastructure.
In view of this threat, the United States government recently issued a rare public warning. It stated that these hackers had breached certain networks.
Nuclear, Energy, Aviation, Water & Critical Manufacturing Have Been Targets
In an email report, the US Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation warned several entities about the potential hacking activities. These include the nuclear, energy, aviation, water and critical manufacturing industries, along with government entities. As such, attacks have been present since May of this year.
The agencies warned that hackers had succeeded in compromising some targeted networks, but did not identify specific victims or describe any cases of sabotage.
The report said the objective of the attackers’ was to compromise organisational networks with malicious e-mails. It also tainted websites to obtain credentials for accessing computer networks of their targets.
Remain Vigilant for New Threats
The US authorities have been monitoring the activity for months, which they initially detailed in a confidential June report.
Moreover, that document was privately distributed to firms at risk of attacks. It described a narrower set of activity focusing on the nuclear, energy and critical manufacturing sectors.
However, the Department of Homeland Security declined to elaborate on the information in the report. They also didn’t comment on what prompted the government to go public with the information now.
“The technical alert provides recommendations to mitigate and prevent malicious cyber activity targeting multiple sectors and reiterates our commitment to remain vigilant for new threats,” it said.
Security researchers said the report described an escalation in the targeting of infrastructure. Specifically, private firms in Europe and the US had been targets in recent reports, including Symantec.
The FBI declined to comment on the report.
“This is very aggressive activity,” said Robert Lee, an expert in securing industrial networks.
Cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike said the technical indicators in the report suggested the attacks were the work of a hacking group it calls Berserk Bear. Apparently, the group has connections with the Russian Federation and has targeted the energy, financial and transportation industries.