America’s Cyber Vulnerabilities

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Cyber is the newest branch of warfare. Even in its baby stages, it has the potential to cripple the United States.

On the afternoon of Dec. 23, 2015, Ukrainian engineers from a Prykarpattya Oblenergo power station stared at a computer screen while the cursor progressed on its own across the monitor. The mouse on the table had not moved. But the cursor hovered over the station’s breakers, each one controlling power to thousands of Ukrainian citizens. Then, with one mouse click at a time, the hackers now in control of the power station began shutting off power to hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians.

At the same time, Kyivoblenergo employees watched as dozens of substations shut down, one by one. In their case, there was no phantom mouse. A computer on their network that they could not locate was being used by someone to shut down the power—and there was nothing they could do. Continue reading

Foreign States Preparing Cyber Attacks on Infrastructure in Future War

National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers

National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers / Getty Images

 

Rogers awaiting new Trump cyber policy

Foreign nations’ cyber intrusions into key infrastructure network are preparation for damaging attacks in a future conflict, the commander of Cyber Command told Congress Tuesday.

Adm. Mike Rogers, the commander who is also director of the National Security Agency, said one of his major concerns is cyber attacks on critical infrastructures used to run the electric grid, financial systems, communications networks, the transportation systems, and others. Continue reading

FBI Warns of Cyber Threat to Electric Grid

DHS intel report downplayed cyber threat to power grid

Three months after a Department of Homeland Security intelligence report downplayed the threat of a cyber attack against the U.S. electrical grid, DHS and the FBI began a nationwide program warning of the dangers faced by U.S. utilities from damaging cyber attacks like the recent hacking against Ukraine’s power grid.

The nationwide campaign by DHS and the FBI began March 31 and includes 12 briefings and online webinars for electrical power infrastructure companies and others involved in security, with sessions in eight U.S. cities, including a session next week in Washington. Continue reading

Hackers Turn Ukrainian Infrastructure into ‘Powder Keg’

For more information on SCADAs, their vulnerabilities and exploitations, please see the SCADA tag.

An example article showing American vulnerability to SCADA attacks:

UPDATE 3: U.S. probes cyber attack on water system

 

Several attacks have already taken place against regional power plants in Ukraine, resulting in several short-term blackouts in December 2015. It was the first recorded case of power outages being caused by cyber attacks and originated from a type of malware known as BlackEnergy.

It is not clear who was behind the attacks but a military spokesperson stated last week that they were originating from Russia. Another type of malware has since been discovered by investigators looking into the December cyber attacks, although researchers say it is impossible to know how many systems are currently at risk. Continue reading

U.S. Electrical, Financial Networks Mapped for Future Cyber Attacks

Check out the SCADA tags to see more information on how systems can be compromised and diverted or shut down.

 

Critical U.S. infrastructures are being penetrated by foreign states in preparation for devastating future cyber attacks designed to cripple electrical power, communications and financial networks, the commander of the U.S. Cyber Command told Congress on Thursday.

Adm. Mike Rogers, Cybercom chief and director of the National Security Agency, said foreign states have broken into the networks that control industrial systems for a range of what the U.S. government considers 16 critical infrastructures, ranging from electrical power, water, telecommunications and financial systems.

“We have seen instances where we’re observing intrusions into industrial control systems,” Rogers told the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Continue reading

‘Trojan Horse’ Bug Lurking in Vital US Computers Since 2011

If Russia wanted to, they likely could’ve powered America off yesterday. The United States has done almost next to nothing to shield it self from such an attack with the exception of putting out news reports by officials who state they’re working on a plan or ‘taking measures’ to ensure networks and infrastructure remain secure. Conducting a search here under ‘SCADA‘ will reveal just how vulnerable America really is — and that’s just one attack method of many needing to be guarded against.

 

A destructive “Trojan Horse” malware program has penetrated the software that runs much of the nation’s critical infrastructure and is poised to cause an economic catastrophe, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

National Security sources told ABC News there is evidence that the malware was inserted by hackers believed to be sponsored by the Russian government, and is a very serious threat. Continue reading