For the first time in history, the United States officially accused Russia of hacking computer networks of the US’s key sectors such as industry, energy, or aviation.
According to a joint note from Homeland Security and the FBI, Kremlin-mandated hackers have tried several times, since March 2016, to infiltrate “many critical infrastructure sectors, such as energy, nuclear commercial establishments, water, aviation, and industry “.
“Homeland Security and the FBI view this activity as a multi-step intrusion campaign by Russian government agents who targeted small business networks, where they launched malicious programs, made phishing attempts, and retrieved remote access to energy networks,” the reports states.
Russian hackers conducted ‘recon missions’
“After obtaining the access, these agents [Russian hackers] carried out recon missions on these networks, moved and retrieved information on industrial computer supervision,” according to the recently released the statement.
The report mentions a study published during the last year’s October conducted by the computer security company Symantec, which warned about major cyber attacks against the US energy sector, related to the Dragonfly group of hackers.
Due to these cyber attacks and alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election, the United States issued Thursday sanctions against 19 Russian individuals and 5 Russian entities.
Is a new Cold War already happening?
The British officials expelled 23 Russian officials linked to the recently emerged neurotoxic gas crisis.
Thus, the US official accusations come in the same period when the UK officials accused Russia of involvement in the recent neurotoxic gas assassination attack against an ex-Russian spy and his daughter.
“We do not want a new Cold War (…) Russia is our neighbor and therefore we will continue to seek to improve relations with it,” the NATO Secretary, Jens Stoltenberg declared earlier.
However, what we get might be just pieces of the puzzle and we could already live a new type of Cold War, which, differently from the last one, could be conducted by deploying malware, shutting down governmental networks, and stealing of secret information by hacking computer networks similar to those attacks the United States officials accused Russia of conducting.