Cybersabotage from the Middle East targets energy companies


By: SGN Staff


Quick Take: For many years, the security strategy of many electric power companies was to keep a low profile. But that simply won't be good enough going forward, as this latest report shows. Critical infrastructure such as electric power is now an explicit target. And these latest attacks set out to shut things down. - By Jesse Berst


The New York Times reports a new wave of cyberattacks is striking energy companies and other American corporations -- and this time they're out to do harm, not just to collect information. "The targets have primarily been energy companies, and the attacks appeared to be probes, looking for ways to seize control of their processing systems," said the Department of Homeland Security in a statement reported by the Washington Post.


The statement says officials are highly concerned about "increasing hostility” against "U.S. critical infrastructure organizations." According to the Post, the 13-page alert included specific measures that could be taken to prevent disruptive attacks, industry officials said.


It included detailed descriptions of tactics and techniques used to gain access to computers, passwords and various levels of a company’s network. A separate document provided indicators of compromise that can be used by technicians to detect attacks.


According to the Times, most of the attacks are coming from the Middle East. Previous attacks have typically been attempts to steal information and trade secrets. But this latest wave seeks to take over and damage networks and industrial machinery.


Jesse Berst is the founder and Chief Analyst of SGN and Chairman of the Smart Cities Council, an industry coalition.


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