Russian hackers aligned with the Kremlin have developed a cyberweapon with the ability to disrupt power grids. This malware, dubbed CrashOverride, is already cause for concern–with there already being interest expressed in developing it further to target U.S. systems.
Americans depend on the power grid almost entirely and an attack on it has been a long-speculated worst-case scenario. Gas pumps, hospitals, trains, cooling and heating, and hundreds of other ubiquitous systems that make American life what it is would all be brought to a halt.
So far, the malware is in it’s primitive stages. It was used in Ukraine last December to briefly knock out power to one-fifth of Kiev–only one power system.
The worry is that, with some tweaks, the system could certainly become powerful enough to threaten the United States power grid and put millions at peril should the hackers follow through with their alleged plans.
These developments come in the wake of the media controversy surrounding the US government investigating a vast and unabashed attempt by the Russian government to influence the outcome of the last US election. Former FBI Director James Comey recently testified before senate, mentioning that “hundreds” of organizations, political and otherwise, had been compromised by Russian hackers.
Dragos, a cybersecurity firm that took a closer look into the malware, released a 35-page document directed at the “electric sector and security community” noting it’s “potential implications” and dubbing the team credited with creating the malware Electrum. They are believed by the private sector to be tied to another team, Sandworm, that is credited with the attack on US industrial control systems back in 2014 and the Ukraine power grid in 2015. The private sector is certain that Sandworm and Electrum are not only both linked to the Russian government, but also essentially the same group. The US government has not released official implicating the Russian government involvement.