Feeds

Spies hacked US electrical grid, says WSJ

The Russians, the Chinese, and "others"

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Hackers thrash Bash Shellshock bug: World races to cover hole
Update your gear now to avoid early attacks hitting the web
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.