In a recent joint report, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation have determined that hackers have been “phishing” emails to “harvest credentials” so they could gain access to nuclear and energy targets.” The hackers have been doing this activity since May.
There were a few instances of hackers actually succeeding in network infiltration of targets. The hackers spied on specific individuals’ interests to gain access to their computers and created “decoy documents.” There were “11 files used in the attacks, including malware downloaders and tools that allow the hackers to take remote control of victim’s computers and travel across their networks.”
This revealed security threat intensifies the already tense situation between industrial firms and hacker activity. Reportedly U.S. nuclear power generators PSEG (PEG.N), SCANA Corp (SCG.N) and Entergy Corp (ETR.N) were reportedly unaffected by the recent security threat.
The possibilty of an attack on the energy sector is not unfounded considering the Ukraine had its electricity cut off in December 2016 by hacking activity. Since this attack two cyber security firms have identified the Ukraine targeted malware and labeled it Industroyer. It has been determined that this same malware could easily be deployed against the US to disrupt utilities.