Feeds

Spies hacked US electrical grid, says WSJ

The Russians, the Chinese, and "others"

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Foreign cyber-spies have reportedly been infiltrating the US electrical grid and planting software that can be used to destroy key components.

According to the Wall Street Journal - which cites unnamed national security officials - electro-spooks hailing from China, Russia, and "other countries" are trying to navigate and control the power grid as well as other US infrastructure like water and sewage.

The intruders don't appear to have attempted to cause any damage yet, but US intelligence officials worry they'll try during a crisis or war, the paper said.

Governments on both sides of the Atlantic have warned lax cyber-security may leave critical infrastructure vulnerable to terrorists and saboteurs — although usually specific countries aren't fingered as culprits.

"The Chinese have attempted to map our infrastructure, such as the electrical grid," an unnamed senior intelligence official told the WSJ. "So have the Russians."

This appears to be an assumption based on the sophistication of the US intrusions. But officials aren't sure about the motivation — as, for instance, China doesn't have much reason to disrupt the country's economy when its loans are presently paying the US government's bills.

The security trouble is linked to so-called supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), software used to control switches and valves at power generators, gas refineries, and manufacturing plants across the world. As more of the systems are being hooked to the internet and corporate intranets to save costs, the easier it is for cyber ne'er-do-wells to gain ill-intended access. Because security on the systems is not regulated in the US, protection of key infrastructure left in the hands of the industry.

Chinese and Russian officials denied electrical grid espionage in the report. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Why did it take antivirus giants YEARS to drill into super-scary Regin? Symantec responds...
FYI this isn't just going to target Windows, Linux and OS X fans
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Home Office: Fancy flogging us some SECRET SPY GEAR?
If you do, tell NOBODY what it's for or how it works
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
Syrian Electronic Army in news site 'hack' POP-UP MAYHEM
Gigya redirect exploit blamed for pop-rageous ploy
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Managing SSL certificates with ease
The lack of operational efficiencies and compliance pitfalls associated with poor SSL certificate management, and how the right SSL certificate management tool can help.