A Russian government-linked hacker has infiltrated a dozen companies linked to the US power grid in recent months, a report from cybersecurity firm Symantec says.
The group behind the attack is known as Dragonfly, and has recently become active after years of radio silence. Symantec has been tracking the group since 2011, and exposed its attacks on Western companies back in 2014.
“Dragonfly 2.0,” as Symantec is calling it, shares tools and techniques with the old group, but has particularly targeted the energy sector since its resurgence in 2015.
“The Dragonfly group appears to be interested in both learning how energy facilities operate and also gaining access to operational systems themselves, to the extent that the group now potentially has the ability to sabotage or gain control of these systems should it decide to do so,” Symantec wrote.
It’s often in the interests of security firms to play up the dangers of cyberattacks — Symantec’s blog post casually mentions that “Symantec customers are protected against the activities of the Dragonfly group” — but the prospect of a state actor attacking the national power grid is a worst-case-scenario for cyberwarfare, and Symantec is saying that it’s within the capabilities of a Russian-linked hacking group.
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