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The FBI says Russian hackers are scanning US energy systems



(Reuters) – Russian hackers have scanned the energy companies’ systems and other critical infrastructure in the US, and state-sponsored hacking of Russia poses a “current” threat to US national security, a top FBI official told lawmakers on Tuesday.

“The threat from Russia in the criminal sense, in the nation state sense, is very, very real – and current,” said Bryan Vorndran, deputy director of the FBI’s cyber division, during a hearing before a panel in the US House of Representatives. .

In the weeks following Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine, the White House and the Justice Department have warned US companies of intelligence indicating that Russia has taken early steps to launch possible cyber attacks.

Mr Vorndran told lawmakers that “instances of Russian scanning networks”

; in the US energy sector have increased recently, saying that such activity represents a “reconnaissance phase” of Russia to try to understand a company’s defense and whether it has vulnerabilities that can be exploited.

“It is an extremely important part of the overall attacks,” he noted, adding later in his testimony that Russia represents “one of the two most capable cyber enemies we face globally,” and is “a formidable enemy.”

Last year, long before Russia’s attack on Ukraine, US President Joe Biden openly warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that certain critical infrastructure should be “banned” from cyber attacks.

That warning concerned 16 different types of infrastructure – an obvious reference to the 16 sectors identified as critical by the US Department of Homeland Security, including telecommunications, healthcare, food and energy.

Since then, Mr. Vorndran told lawmakers that he was aware of software companies, including others that have been attacked.

“There are compromises against some of these 16 critical infrastructure sectors,” he said. “I can not speak specifically to whom.”


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