[quote=USA Today]BURLINGTON, Vt. — Malicious software believed tied to a Russian hacking group associated with attempts to influence the U.S. presidential election was found Friday within a computer that belongs to Burlington Electric, one of Vermont’s electrical utilities.
The utility found the malware on a laptop not connected to the operation of the grid, said Commissioner Christopher Recchia of Vermont’s Public Service Department.
Based on his knowledge, Recchia said Friday night he did not believe that the electrical power grid was at risk from the incident.
The Obama administration released code associated with the Russian hacking group, dubbed Grizzly Steppe, on Thursday.[See link in quote block below]
The aim of the release was to allow utilities, companies and organizations to search their computers for the digital signatures of the attack code, to see if they, too, had been targeted.
That proved to be a good strategy with the announcement Friday evening that the code had been found in the city-owned system in Vermont. It is unclear if the penetration was an attempt to disrupt the utility or simply a test.
Doesn’t say what those computers do, but it’s quite possible that the grid *is *at risk if there are any passwords entered or stored on that system that are used elsewhere. The most common way in is to attack an individual employee at a company and leapfrog from there.
“Believed?” From what I read the laptop in question wasn’t even connected to the power grid. Malware could have gotten there from an employee’s clicking on an inappropriate website. A similar story from Virginia seems to be falling apart. My TV remote has been acting up; I wonder if it’s the Russians . . . . .
The computer with malware was not connected to the grid, per source:
Statement from Burlington Electric Department:
“Last night, U.S. utilities were alerted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of a malware code used in Grizzly Steppe, the name DHS has applied to a Russian campaign linked to recent hacks,” said Mike Kanarick, spokesman for Burlington Electric Department. “We acted quickly to scan all computers in our system for the malware signature. We detected the malware in a single Burlington Electric Department laptop not connected to our organization’s grid systems. We took immediate action to isolate the laptop and alerted federal officials of this finding. Our team is working with federal officials to trace this malware and prevent any other attempts to infiltrate utility systems. We have briefed state officials and will support the investigation fully.”
CORRECTION: An initial version of the story stated Russia penetrated the U.S. Grid. Recchia of the Public Service Board and Kanarick of Burlington Electric Department said the grid was not compromised.
Russian government hackers do not appear to have targeted Vermont utility, say people close to investigation
As federal officials investigate suspicious Internet activity found last week on a Vermont utility computer, they are finding evidence that the incident is not linked to any Russian government effort to target or hack the utility, according to experts and officials close to the investigation.