Print 22 comment(s) - last by jtemplin.. on Apr 13 at 12:00 PM

The U.S. government believes cyber attackers from Russia and China recently monitored the U.S. power grid infrastructure

A former U.S. government official disclosed that foreign-based hackers reportedly hacked U.S. electric utility computer networks, installing software that could disrupt power grids.

It appears that there wasn't any actual damage done, though it's possible the attack could have been a possible information gathering mission for future cyber attacks against U.S. infrastructure.

"The Chinese have attempted to map our infrastructure, such as the electrical grid," a senior intelligence official told the Wall Street Journal recently.  "So have the Russians."

There is growing concern regarding the amount of cyber attacks originating from China and Eastern Europe, with many organized attacks that are possibly government-sanctioned.

"Over the past several years, we have seen cyberattacks against critical infrastructures abroad, and many of our own infrastructures are as vulnerable as their foreign counterparts," the Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair said to politicians.  "A number of nations, including Russia and China, can disrupt elements of the U.S. information infrastructure."

This report will again put pressure on politicians and cyber security experts to help secure the U.S. power grid and other infrastructure that could be targeted by cyber attacks.  Security firm IOActive recently issued a report stating it'd be possible to manipulate smart meters with equipment costing $500 and proper training.

Furthermore, Chinese-led attacks, despite Chinese government officials claiming it's just political posturing, continues to be a major threat to government computers, university networks, contractor systems, and U.S. power infrastructure.

The Pentagon reportedly has spent upwards of $100 million to help repair cyber attack damage caused both by curious computer geeks and government-led hacking rings.  The situation is worrisome because China understands they have the ability to exploit possible cyber vulnerabilities whenever they wish against the U.S. and other cyber nations.

President Barack Obama, understanding the nation could face numerous cyber issues in the future, ordered a 30-day cyber review that should be done in the next few weeks.  The country's strategy on dealing with cyber threats will likely come together after the cyber review is completed.

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Getting out of control
By omnicronx on 4/9/2009 10:48:06 AM , Rating: 3
This is getting ridiculous, the Chinese won't even acknowledge this is happening. Makes me wonder how much longer the rest of the world is going to take this abuse before they cut them out all together. I mean what exactly does China and Russia give back to the internet aside from pirated software, and hackers for hire. I go to sites from around the world all the time, (even different languages via translator) but I don't think I have retrieved any useful information or services from either country, ever...

RE: Getting out of control
By smackababy on 4/9/2009 11:00:28 AM , Rating: 3
It is my understanding Blizzard is already banning Chinese IP accounts form World of Warcraft.

I also do not see the reason why the power grid is even accessable online. Why isn't it in a closed network?

RE: Getting out of control
By FITCamaro on 4/9/2009 11:52:17 AM , Rating: 1
I believe they're on a more closed network but if there's any way in, people will find it. But I don't think that things like the control systems for a nuclear power plant are something you can just log in and mess with via the internet.

RE: Getting out of control
By jadeskye on 4/9/2009 12:07:02 PM , Rating: 5

the login is : Admin
the password is: Password

RE: Getting out of control
By Sotsu on 4/9/2009 8:30:05 PM , Rating: 2
If they're anything like water departments, also government ran, it wouldn't be too hard.

I've a family friend that works for the Nashville Metro Water Department who's capable of simply remoting into her machines (workstation/servers/etc) from the ease of her home. If a water department is able to be accessed from the home I wouldn't see why energy departments would be much harder.

Course, now I how hard it'd be to run encrypted tunnels between sites over the expanse that is the internet.

RE: Getting out of control
By Murloc on 4/9/2009 11:07:24 AM , Rating: 2
because of course, you can't read chinese or russian.

anyway anti-missile shields are useless if they can just shut down a nation even if only for 4 hours. The economic damage would be huge.
Or maybe they just collect information to know where to hit.
US has got many satellites, they don't need to hack foreign power grids.

RE: Getting out of control
By omnicronx on 4/9/2009 12:39:15 PM , Rating: 2
because of course, you can't read chinese or russian.
As I already stated, I use Google's translator feature all the time.

RE: Getting out of control
By geddarkstorm on 4/9/2009 2:25:42 PM , Rating: 2
And you trust it to be accurate enough, especially with difficult languages like Chinese, to not drop out important information and mistranslate? I dunno about you, but I've been quite disappointed with all on-line translators, including google's, though it's the best I've found. Maybe you are still right, but stuff read with google translator is about as reliable as a children's book explaining cosmology.

RE: Getting out of control
By jtemplin on 4/13/2009 12:00:14 PM , Rating: 2
You mean time dilation isn't what happens when Jesus sees his optometrist?

My whole life, I've been living a lie...

By Mojo the Monkey on 4/9/2009 12:18:14 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting observation. I wonder, however, how much of this goes on with our guys (be it at whatever secret sub-branch of some secret agency) pulling the same hack jobs over there.

I would imagine that these other countries would not be as open to disclosing that their vital systems have been breached, likely as a matter of national pride.

RE: Getting out of control
By tastyratz on 4/9/2009 1:25:59 PM , Rating: 4
Everyone knows they both contribute to the internet.

Russia supplies America with Brides to be ordered.
China supplies Ebay with counterfit electronics

Actually we get attacked all the time digitally in sensitive areas which costs us money... at what point is this different from them physically blowing a hole in a wall at the pentagon?

This is a digital world, and this is waging digital war if you ask me.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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