Malware believed to be from Russia has been found in the Vermont electric utility. The code has not been used to cause any form of disruption according to officials speaking to the Washington Post. It does, however, represent a possible vulnerability with system security.
This follows accusations and an official report which claims that the Russian government hacked the Democratic Party servers during the election campaign. This operation has been named as Grizzly Steppe by the Obama administration and the Vermont electric code is believed to be associated with that.
America has recently expelled 35 Russian diplomats from American soil and closed two compounds. The Russians have refused to respond in kind which has been praised by incoming president, Donald Trump.
The U.S’ electrical grid is routinely monitored. The system is heavily computerised and malfunctions can cause a range of disastrous issues for medical and emergency services.
Officials have shared the code nationwide with utility executives. Official comments on the incident have been sparse but one told the Washington Post, that they wanted to announce Thursday’s sanctions against Russia to alert all government and utility installations to “defend against Russian malicious cyber activity.”
There are two power companies in Vermont, one is Green Mountain Power, and the other is Burlington Electric. At this time it is unclear which one found the code in its system. Neither commented on the situation and neither did the Department of Homeland Security, co-author of the report released yesterday.
According to the Post, it is suspected this was test run by the hackers to see if they could infiltrate the grid’s system with malware code.
The Obama administration is convinced that Russia was responsible for the hacking of emails and subsequent leaks to Wikileaks during the election campaign, a claim that Russia has always denied. The content of the leaked emails is believed to have turned away traditional Democratic Party voters and the millennial vote.