US Says Russia Hacks Energy Grid, Critical Infrastructure

Trump administration blames Russia for cyber attacks targeting energy grid

US Says Russia Hacks Energy Grid, Critical Infrastructure

Russia's deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, says the Kremlin is responding calmly to the new sanctions and - in his words - "taking this in our stride".

The Trump administration issued a series of punitive sanctions against Russian Federation for coordinating a cyberattack on the US energy grid, aviation systems, and other infrastructure, according to a new report by the Associated Press.

Separately Thursday, the USA sanctioned a St. Petersburg-based "troll farm", two Russian intelligence services, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and other Russian citizens and businesses indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on charges of meddling with the 2016 US presidential election.

"Treasury plans to impose additional sanctions, informed by our intelligence community, to gold Russian government officials and oligarchs accountable for their destabilising activities by severing their access to the United States financial system".

Those behind the cyberattacks are said to be targeting two types of entities.

Prigozhin has been called the "chef" to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The administration designated five Russian entities and 19 individuals with new sanctions, which come in addition to multiple other actions to counter such activity. The officials, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive national security information, left open the possibility of discovering more breaches, and said the federal government was issuing an alert to the energy industry to raise awareness about the threat and improve preparation. The officials say they've helped companies kick the Russians out of all systems now known to have been penetrated.

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The new attribution-the first official confirmation by the USA of Russia's effort-includes an accusation that the Kremlin was behind a group of sophisticated hackers known as "Dragonfly" that had penetrated energy company systems past year in ways that could be used to sabotage the US electric grid.

Direct action: The US Treasury has placed sanctions on five groups and 19 individuals from Russian Federation for their involvement with "nefarious [cyber] attacks".

"This is just one of a series of ongoing actions we're taking to counter Russian aggression,"according to USA officials".

The Treasury Department said the GRU and Russia's military both interfered in the 2016 election and were "directly responsible" for the NotPetya cyberattack that hit businesses across Europe in June 2017, causing billions of dollars in damage by disrupting global shipping, trade and medicine production.

The idea of a foreign government taking down the USA power grid with a cyberattack is a particularly scary subject for many federal officials. Their tactics included sending spear-phishing emails and embedding malicious content on informational websites to obtain security credentials they could then leverage for more information and access.

The Russian government says it's preparing to retaliate after new USA sanctions against Moscow for allegedly interfering in the 2016 American presidential election. "Through this activity, the IRA posted thousands of ads that reached millions of people online". The Americans include members of the diplomatic corps, the military and White House staffers.

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