News and Commentary

Report: Russia Now Has A Cyberweapon That Can Disrupt U.S. Power Grids

Mother Russia is on the march. Kremlin-backed hackers now have the ability to disrupt U.S. power grids that supply energy to thousands of Americans.

“The malware, which researchers have dubbed CrashOverride, is known to have disrupted only one energy system — in Ukraine in December,” reports The Washington Post. “In that incident, the hackers briefly shut down one-fifth of the electric power generated in Kiev. But with modifications, it could be deployed against U.S. electric transmission and distribution systems to devastating effect, said Sergio Caltagirone, director of threat intelligence for Dragos, a cybersecurity firm that studied the malware and issued a report Monday.

The last attack that harnessed the power of this new cyberpower left 225,000 Ukranian customers without power.

“That attack, which left 225,000 customers without power, was carried out by Russian government hackers, other U.S. researchers concluded. U.S. government officials have not officially attributed that attack to the Russian government, but some privately say they concur with the private-sector analysis,” notes the Post.

Dragos and other U.S.-based cybersecurity firms informally call this group of elite Russian hackers “Electrum.” Another group, informally labeled “Sandstorm,” has also been involved in hacking into Ukraine’s energy supply over the last few years. Analysts believe that Sandstorm and Electrum may be one and the same.

Harnessing the power of increased cybewarfare capabilities, Russia has begun to target the U.S. and its allies with unprecedented boldness. In the wake of the Cold War, Russia quietly worked on rebuilding its infrastructure and making a comeback from the ashes of humiliation. When ex-KGB agent Vladimir Putin rose to power in 2000, resolve met reality.

Pursuing an aggressively anti-American agenda, Putin worked on strengthening his country’s conventional weapons system and modernizing his war machine for the information age. Today, Kremlin-backed hackers pose a threat to both Europe and the U.S.

During the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Russian hackers not only inundated social media feeds with “fake news,” disinformation, and misleading propaganda, they even attempted to infiltrate voting systems. While hackers failed to tamper with the actual voting process, U.S. intelligence services believe that Russia’s cyberwarfare efforts have been reproduced across Europe in an effort to undermine pro-NATO politicians seemingly hostile to Moscow’s imperialistic ambitions.