Russia Implicated in Ongoing Hack on US Grid

Russia Implicated in Ongoing Hack on US Grid

These sanctions have also been imposed for the role played by Russian intelligence in spreading the NotPetya malware and ransomware which the USA blamed on Moscow last month.

The actions cover Russia's interference in the 2016 election, as well as more recent "destructive cyber attacks" including the NotPetya hack, which was the "most destructive and costly" attack in history, according to the Treasury Department.

"These targeted sanctions are a part of a broader effort to address the ongoing nefarious attacks emanating from Russian Federation".

U.S. national security officials said the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and intelligence agencies had determined that Russian intelligence and others were behind a broad range of cyberattacks beginning a year ago that have infiltrated the energy, nuclear, commercial, water, aviation and manufacturing sectors.

Cyber-attacks are "literally happening hundreds of thousands of times a day", Energy Secretary Rick Perry told lawmakers during a hearing Thursday. He says he has no business in the USA, and he adds he won't eat at McDonald's in response to the penalties. In its alert, US-CERT noted the Dragonfly campaign which security firm Symantec reported on in September 2017, is part of Russia's efforts to attack the energy sector.

The official is quoted by the Russian state news agency Tass as saying that the USA action is "tied to US internal disorder, tied of course to our electoral calendar". "There will be more to come".

As Western democracies ramp up their rhetoric against Russia, White House officials said Thursday that Russia has hacked or at least targeted US infrastructure, including aviation systems. But it did attribute those attacks to Russian Federation - at first.

Critical manufacturing sectors and commercial facilities also have been targeted by the ongoing "multi-stage intrusion campaign by Russian government cyber actors".

From there, Russian hackers were able to move "laterally" to other networks to collect information related to Industrial Control Systems (ICS), computer systems used to operate critical infrastructure. Senator Maria Cantwell, the top Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, pushed for a cyberthreat assessment of the grid previous year, to better defend the infrastructure against potential attacks.

In 2016, in one of the rare times that the Department of Justice has indicted foreign government hackers unlikely to ever see a United States jail - a tactic known as "name and shame" - it accused an Iranian government contractor, Hamid Firoozi, of gaining access to the controls of the Bowman Dam in Rye, New York.

Rep. Ed Royce (R., Calif.), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, welcomed the new sanctions on Russian Federation.

"I hope today's belated response is the first step in a robust and aggressive strategy to protect our critical infrastructure", Cantwell, a Democrat from Washington state, said in an emailed statement. "As our midterm elections approach, we must send a clear message that attacks on our political process will not be tolerated".

The US Treasury Department announced the sanctions amid withering criticism accusing Trump and his administration of failing to use its congressionally mandated authority to punish Russian Federation. "But more must be done", Royce said.

Update 11:16 a.m.: This post was updated with comment from the administration.