It wasn’t just America’s election. Officials say Russian hackers also broke into networks belonging to major U.S. energy companies, including those operating nuclear power stations, the Washington Post reports.
“The officials said there is no evidence the hackers breached or disrupted the core systems controlling operations at the plants,” the paper reports, “so the public was not at risk.” However, hackers did penetrate the affected companies’ business and administrative systems.
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Late last month, the Post writes, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security jointly advised energy providers that what they called “advanced, persistent threat actors” were stealing network log-ins and passwords that allowed them to enter company networks.
While those agencies did not identify Russia as the “actor” behind the attacks, “the National Security Agency has detected specific activity by the Russian spy agency, the FSB, targeting the energy firms,” the paper reports, citing two unnamed officials.
“The penetration could be a sign that Russia is seeking to lay the groundwork for more damaging hacks,” analysts consulted by the Post suggests. “In December 2015,” the paper recalls, “Russian hackers disrupted the electric system in Ukraine, plunging 225,000 customers into darkness. Last December, they tested a new cyberweapon in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, capable of disrupting power grids around the world.”