Justice Department indicts four Russian government employees in energy industry hack

The U.S. Department of Justice today announced indictments against four Russian government employees who it alleges attempted a six-year campaign to attack the global energy industry and its equipment. 135 countries. Two indictments were sealed last summer, and are finally being released to the public.

The DOJ’s decision to release these documents could be a way to raise public awareness of the increased threat these types of hacks pose to critical US infrastructure in the wake of the invasion. of Russia into Ukraine. State-sponsored hackers have energy, nuclear, water and critical manufacturing companies for many years, to steal information on their control systems. Cybersecurity officials noticed a in Russian hacking activity in the US in recent weeks.

“Russian state-sponsored hackers pose a serious and persistent threat to critical infrastructure both in the United States and around the world,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco in a statement. “While today’s unsealed criminal charges reflect past activity, they highlight the urgent, ongoing need for American businesses to beef up their defenses and maintain police presence. sense.

The indictment alleges that two separate operations occurred between 2012 and 2018. The first case, filed in June 2021, involved Evgeny Viktorovich Gladkikh, a computer programmer at the Russian Defense Ministry. . It alleges that Gladkik and a group of accomplices were members of the Triton malware attack group. TechCrunch , the factory in Saudi Arabia would be completely devastated if it weren’t for a bug in the code. In 2018, the same group tried to hack but failed.

The second indictment charged three hackers with working for Russia’s intelligence agency, (FSB), as a member of the Dragonfly attack group, coordinated numerous attacks on nuclear power plants, energy companies, and other critical infrastructure. It alleges that three men, Pavel Aleksandrovich Akulov, Mikhail Mikhailovich Gavrilov and Marat Valeryevich Tyukov were involved in multiple computer intrusions between 2012 and 2017. The DOJ estimates that the three hackers were able to install the software. malware on more than 17,000 unique devices in the US and overseas.

The second stage is called , which occurred between 2014 and 2017, targeted more than 3,300 users across 500 different energy companies in the United States and abroad. According to the DOJ, the masterminds are seeking to access software and hardware in power plants that allowed the Russian government to shut down.

The US government is still looking for three FSB hackers. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs today announced a for any information about their whereabouts. However, like Washington Post The US and Russia do not have an extradition treaty, so the chances of any of the alleged hackers being brought to trial under these charges are slim.

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