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Russian Energy Ministry Seemingly Unperturbed by Report That US Is Infecting Its Power Grid

Says intrusions have been detected, but that the grid is safe

Russian officials have said that the country’s energy infrastructure is safe, days after a New York Times article detailed U.S. cyberattacks on Russia’s electric grid.

Citing anonymous sources, the report published Saturday details escalating efforts by the U.S. to hack Russia’s power grid. The article said the U.S. strategy was enacted in response to reports of Russia hacking into American infrastructure, as well as a preventive measure against Russian interference in the 2018 midterm elections.

Russia’s Energy Ministry told Interfax Monday that the country’s power grids have “a high level of protection” and that systemic efforts are underway to protect Russian technology and equipment from U.S. cyberattack. 

Interfax:

Russian energy companies independently protect their information resources from outside attacks, the Interfax was told at the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation.

Information about attacks on energy facilities in the Ministry of Energy from companies have been reported,” – said the ministry in response to a request to comment on the publication in the New York Times.

“There are no serious concerns [of the U.S. disrupting Russia’s energy infrastructure],” Yevgeny Lifshitz, a member of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, later told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency.

“The country’s power grid has the necessary security systems so that even the most unfavorable scenario would lead to only short-term interruptions.”

Russian observers have said that the reported cyberattacks represent an escalation that could further damage bilateral relations, while state-run television has described the attacks as a provocation.

Andrei Soldatov, a Russian journalist and security services expert, told The Moscow Times that the U.S. strategy  signals “a clear escalation.”

Ivan Danilov, a columnist at RIA Novosti, said that The New York Times reported “with commendable honesty and enthusiasm” but added that “they did not even bother with the thought that such actions [cyberattacks] represent a gross violation of international law.”

Source: The Moscow Times


Russia has uncovered and thwarted attempts by the United States to carry out cyber attacks on the control systems of Russian infrastructure, Russian news agencies cited an unnamed security source as saying on Monday.

The disclosure was made on Russia’s state-run RIA and TASS news agencies days after the New York Times cited unnamed government sources as saying that the United States had inserted potentially disruptive computer code into Russia’s power grid as part of a more aggressive deployment of its cyber tools.

The newspaper suggested President Donald Trump had not been informed of the intrusions. Trump, without providing evidence, said on Twitter that the article was not true.

The Kremlin had said earlier on Monday that the U.S. newspaper report was worrying and showed that a cyber war was, in theory, possible.

“We see and note such attempts,” the Russian security source was quoted as saying in response to the report. “However, we manage to neutralize these actions.”

Foreign intelligence services have stepped up cyber attacks against Russia in recent years and are targeting mainly transport, banking and energy infrastructure, the source told TASS and RIA.

Russia-U.S. relations are at post-Cold War lows, strained in particular by U.S. allegations that Moscow hacked and meddled in order to tilt the 2016 presidential election in Donald Trump’s favor. Moscow denies those allegations.

When asked about the New York Times report earlier on Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “…Undoubtedly this information shows the hypothetical possibility… and all signs of cyber war and military cyber action against the Russian Federation.”

Peskov said unnamed strategic parts of the Russian economy had endured foreign cyber attacks many times in the past and that the authorities were constantly working to try to keep the economy and what he called sensitive parts of its safe.

Source: The Moscow Times