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United States Government Security Politics

US Says Russia Hacked Energy Grid, Punishes 19 for Meddling (apnews.com) 229

Associated Press: Pushing back harder on Russia, the Trump administration accused Moscow on Thursday of a concerted hacking operation targeting the U.S. energy grid, aviation systems and other infrastructure, and also imposed sanctions on Russians for alleged interference in the 2016 election. It was the strongest action to date against Russia by the administration, which has long been accused of being too soft on the Kremlin, and the first punishments for election meddling since President Donald Trump took office. The sanctions list included the 13 Russians indicted last month by special counsel Robert Mueller, whose Russia investigation the president has repeatedly sought to discredit. U.S. national security officials said the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and intelligence agencies had determined that Russian intelligence and others were behind a broad range of cyberattacks beginning a year ago that have infiltrated the energy, nuclear, commercial, water, aviation and manufacturing sectors. Further reading: Russian Government Cyber Activity Targeting Energy and Other Critical Infrastructure Sectors (US-Cert); U.S. blames Russia for cyber attacks on energy grid, other sectors (Reuters); U.S. says Russian hackers targeted American energy grid (Politico); Trump administration finally announces Russia sanctions over election meddling (CNN); U.S. sanctions on Russia cite 2016 election interference -- but remain largely symbolic (USA Today); U.S. Sanctions Russians Charged by Mueller for Election Meddling (Bloomberg); and Trump Administration Sanctions Russians for Election Meddling and Cyberattacks (The New York Times).
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US Says Russia Hacked Energy Grid, Punishes 19 for Meddling

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  • Picking safe targets (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @03:12PM (#56265847)

    Seems like they've chosen to sanction people already identified and charged by Mueller, but not anyone close to Putin.

    • by ClickOnThis ( 137803 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @03:26PM (#56265917) Journal

      Seems like they've chosen to sanction people already identified and charged by Mueller, but not anyone close to Putin.

      Correct, Mueller's 13 are among the 19 individuals sanctioned. Five organizations also were targeted in the sanctions.

      But note that the administration is acting on an authority granted by Congress last summer, with a congressionally-mandated deadline to act by early February, a month and a half ago. Mueller's indictments occurred after that deadline passed.

      And now Trump acts. To say he was reluctant is putting it mildly.

      https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/15... [cnn.com]

    • by tomhath ( 637240 )
      If you believe the collusion conspiracy, those people are some of Putin's closest aides.
      • by ISayWeOnlyToBePolite ( 721679 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @05:11PM (#56266401)

        If you believe the collusion conspiracy, those people are some of Putin's closest aides.

        The Russians indicted by Mueller are allegedly the ones behind the fake social media posts, not anyone suspected of colluding with the Trump campaign. AFAIK no one believes Putin sent his "closest aides" to work with the Trump campaign but rather the opposite .

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Isn't that how sanctions work? It's kind of hard to sanction unidentified people and those against whom you have no evidence.

  • by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @03:16PM (#56265867)

    Unfortunately with Putin you have a man who likes to hide behind his nuclear weapons sticking his tongue out breaking all the rules and niceties of international agreements and doing whatever the hell he wants knowing no-one will do anything too bad because he has nukes.

    Obviously, I'm not going to say western countries are perfect, they're far from it; but Putin is dangerous because he doesn't play by the rules and he actively yearns for the good old days when Russia was subjugating many different nations and there was a cold war. Putin, to use a technical term is an immature jackass.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by iggymanz ( 596061 )

      Putin is very mature compared to the orange haired buffoon; sad that even an ex-KGB gangster has more statesmanship than who we have.

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by guacamole ( 24270 )

      USA is the one who broke the international agreements (Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2000s) and possibly even Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (by placing sea-based cruise missile launchers on European soil). USA invaded for no excusable reason Iraq, armed and supported jihadists in Syria, and bombed Libya resulting in civil war that lasts to this day. Much of the middle east is on fire because of the US actions, with hundreds of thousands dead, and millions displaced. But Putin turns out to be a

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Ryanrule ( 1657199 )
        fuck you ivan.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          fuck you ivan

          Hey, is "ivan" the new term for someone who supplies detailed, easily verifiable facts in a calm manner and by doing so upsets crazed, illiterate, blood-thirsty lunatics drunk on fact-free fantasies and delusions of their own infallibility and grandeur? From the above exchange it surely seems so...

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            fuck you ivan

            Hey, is "ivan" the new term for someone who supplies detailed, easily verifiable facts in a calm manner and by doing so upsets crazed, illiterate, blood-thirsty lunatics drunk on fact-free fantasies and delusions of their own infallibility and grandeur? From the above exchange it surely seems so...

            As someone born in USSR I consider from life experience Russia to be a poverty, corruption, apathy, alcoholism and ignorance stricken shit hole festering in a decaying corpse of Soviet Union. It is a miracle there is anyone left in RF with a gun pointed to their head to keep anything running. Enjoy your kickbacks until train at the end of the tunnel arrives.

          • Well since Ivan isted, I guess Dimitri and and Sergi have all the mod points.

            Yeah yeah it wasn't Russia, that chap just tripped and fell on some nerve gas.

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          C'mon this is as funny as fuck, the US governments has turned into a pack of idiots. So let me get this fucking straight, the US has band thirteen Russians from entering the US that they, want to fucking arrest, interesting, Inspector Clouseu much https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]. Your government has just turned you into a pack of ass clowns.

          Yeah we all know the US is just trying to fuck with Russian Elections with the full support of US media and US government controlled Western media generally, but seri

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Russia has far more to do with arming jihadists in Syria. Seriously, while the U.S. has been no saint in the matter, Russia has been far worse. Supplying chemical weapons is just one example.

        Iraq was a bad play, can't defend poorly planned and misguided attempts at war for the profit of Halliburton among many other defense contractors.

        The middle east is on fire for a whole host of reasons, the U.S. has contributed, Iran has contributed, Russia and Israel have all contributed. There are still more actors i

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Iraq was a bad play. Afghanistan was a bad play. Libya was a bad play ... all at the hands of US intervention

          Syria witnessed the birth of isis using the weapon caches from Libya. That was most definitely because of US intervention. And we won’t even go on about the 500bn worth of weapons sent. Or the 80 Toyotas that the US state department admitted to losing!

          Or Benghazi gate thing didn’t happen? Which one is it? Remember it was that carelessness that later became the mess in Syria. As for Assad

        • by mrclevesque ( 1413593 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @05:53PM (#56266569)

          "Russia has far more to do with arming jihadists in Syria. Seriously, while the U.S. has been no saint in the matter, Russia has been far worse. Supplying chemical weapons is just one example."

          I think Russia is supporting Bashar and the jihadists are fighting Bashar, so I can't see how Russia could be supporting jihadists. And if by chemical weapons you mean the supposed sarin incident, again why would Bashar or Russians do something so counter productive, and useless as trying to kill a couple dozen people with gaz.

          Totally agree with the rest of your comment.

          • There were some oddities earlier in the Syrian war where ISIS and the Assad government seemed to go out of their way to not conflict with each other, but ostensibly they were on opposite sides of the war the whole way through, and the other jihadists more aligned with the Al-Qaeda groups were definitely fighting against Assad the whole time. Usually, the jihadists commonly referred to are radical Sunnis, and Assad's an Alawite which is more closely related to the Shiites (hence his alliance with Iran), and
            • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

              There were some oddities earlier in the Syrian war where ISIS and America seemed to go out of their way to not conflict with each other

              Fixed your autocorrect fail. Just letting you know so you can check your device settings.

              he's waged a brutal campaign in his fight for survival

              If foreign governments were literally arming, funding and training jihadists and terrorists to overthrow your nation, how hard would you fight to defend it?

              As for why Assad would use chemical weapons, there is a twisted bit of dictat

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by GrimSavant ( 5251917 )
                Really. Really? You think that America went out of its way to avoid ISIS in Syria? You taint the rest of your post by starting off with that, makes it hard to take you at all seriously.

                America was reluctant to get involved in Syria in general, because the factions that it wanted to back, the so called "moderate rebels", were basically nonexistent as actual fighting forces on the ground, which was revealed particularly embarrassingly a couple years ago. Not because the US wanted to stay out of the way of
                • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

                  Really. Really? You think that America went out of its way to avoid ISIS in Syria? You taint the rest of your post by starting off with that, makes it hard to take you at all seriously.

                  Your ignorance of the subject [brookings.edu] is not my problem. [mintpressnews.com] Yes, the United States has been arming, training and funding both ISIS and Al Queda to overthrow Assad. From the beginning.

                  America was reluctant to get involved in Syria in general

                  America was plotting to overthrow Syria before the Arab Spring was a thing. Again, remedial kn [washingtonpost.com]

        • Russia has far more to do with arming jihadists in Syria.

          That's total BS. Russia has been fighting Islamic terror for two decades now. It is the Obama administration who supplied the TOW anti-tank missiles to the "Free Syrian Army", the entity that consisted pretty much of Al-Queda affiliated groups since a long time ago.

          And the middle east is on fire primarily because of USA, sorry my necon "friend". The USA broke Iraq and started the civil war over there, the civil war that spilled into neighboring Syria.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I'll just leave this here:

        http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/7666/russia-breaks-arms-control-treaty-by-deploying-land-based-cruise-missiles [thedrive.com]

        Since the treaty’s execution, both the US and Russia have concentrated their cruise missile arsenals to sea-based and air launched varieties, with the US throwing away its Pershing II medium-range ballistic missiles and BGM-109G Gryphon cruise missiles based on the Navy’s Tomahawk. Then in 2008 Russia began testing what US intelligence believed was a lan

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 15, 2018 @06:29PM (#56266697)

        What a load of nonsense.

        GWB withdrew the US from the ABM treaty, following the procedure specified in the treaty to do so. He didn't "break" it.

        The key violation of the INF treaty is the Russian Iskander missile. The US does not have intermediate range ballistic missile. At all. That Russia keeps complaining that the treaty does not suit them because China is not part of it (while placing their missiles in Kaliningrad, clearly where the Chinese are going to attack) is neither here nor there.

        The top 3 meddlers in Syria are Iran, Russia and Turkey, all directly involved. Followed by the Gulf states giving money to various factions. The west, including the US, has largely stood by.

        The Libya campaign was executed in accordance with a UN resolution that neither Russia nor China opposed, even though they had a veto.

        The only point you're making that's worthy of consideration is the US invasion of Iraq.

        As for Russia, how about we begin with Russia signing a treaty with Ukraine by which it guaranteed the integrity of its territory, not only not to invade it, but actually to defend it, in exchange for Ukraine abandoning its nukes, and then taking over part of it. Putin made a very clear statement that Russia's word wasn't worth wiping your ass with.

        • -Iskander is a short-range missile.

          -How can you call Russia, Iran, and Turkey top three meddlers if USA and its allies are occupying a quarter of territory of Syria right now.

          - Russia and Iran are not the "meddlers" in Syria. Their presence is legitimized by the request of Syrian government, you know, the one that's holding the seat at UN.

          -On the other hand, Turkey and USA are occupying the Syrian territory completely illegally because the Syrian government never requested or allowed the presence of their t

      • >by placing sea-based cruise missile launchers on European soil

        Wut? Sea based is in the sea. Soil is on the land.

    • @Oswald McWeany [slashdot.org]: "Putin is dangerous because he doesn't play by the rules"

      Total bullshit !!
  • USSR/Russia have been meddling with foreign politics for decades. The entire "peace" movement was financed by the evil empire [wikipedia.org], financing everything "anti-war" [google.co.uk] in the West (while themselves invading neighbors like Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Afghanistan).

    Similarly, they also funded "Black liberation" [aim.org].

    There is even good evidence of Senator Edward Kennedy [forbes.com] offering future cooperation in exchange for Soviet help in getting himself elected... Certainly more evidence of (attempted) collusion, than there ever was against Trump...

    But none of it was important, until Trump won the elections — and it became crucially important for the swamp to, if not impeach, keep him occupied and thus less dangerous to the crocodiles.

    • oh, and the USA hasn't meddled with foreign powers, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths, maimings, starvation?

      the stuff you link is mild in comparision

      • by mi ( 197448 )

        oh, and the USA hasn't meddled with foreign powers

        We probably have.

        causing hundreds of thousands of deaths, maimings, starvation?

        Nope, we have not caused any of this. Notably, you aren't even attempting to cite examples.

        the stuff you link is mild in comparision

        My point in this thread was not to accuse Russia, but to expose the hypocrisy of anti-Trumpers.

        • causing hundreds of thousands of deaths, maimings, starvation?

          Nope, we have not caused any of this. Notably, you aren't even attempting to cite examples.

          Libya, Syria, Honduras and Yemen are just the latest examples I can recollect for the past five years or so.

          • Libya, Syria, Honduras and Yemen are just the latest examples

            Please, explain, how the US is responsible for hundreds of thousands of dead and maimed in these countries. You'll need to show, how none of the carnage would've happened, were it not for the US.

            • You need to show why the carnage caused by US interventions would have happened anyway.

            • Add Iraq to the list of countries, and you've got hundreds of thousands.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          You missed the Korea, Vietnam and two Iraq wars.
          You missed the disaster in South America.

          You have no clue about the horrible things your country did.

          • by mi ( 197448 )

            You missed the Korea, Vietnam

            It is thanks to America, that millions of South Koreans enjoy the prosperity and the human rights of Capitalism. That the millions of North Koreans and Vietnamese do not have these, is despite rather than because of anything we've done.

            You missed the disaster in South America.

            No, I didn't. The "horrible dictator" of Chile (US-sponsored) left his country the number one economy in the South America. While Russian-sponsored Chavez and Catro have ruined theirs.

            You have no clue about

            • It is thanks to America, that millions of South Koreans enjoy the prosperity and the human rights of Capitalism.
              Do you really think that? Then you are an idiot.

              Look at Vietnam e.g. it is united and has capitalism, and capitalism is probably the worst economy system we have.

              You missed the disaster in South America.

              No, I didn't. The "horrible dictator" of Chile (US-sponsored) left his country the number one economy in the South America.

              After killing a million. Killing the rightful elected government. And "number on economy" my ass. I don't really

          • Nur zur Info, mi ist ein ukrainischer Neurechter, der nach Amiland gezogen ist, ist also nur ein Moechtegernami. Und ein Depp ist er sowieso.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          >> causing hundreds of thousands of deaths, maimings, starvation?
          > Nope, we have not caused any of this. Notably, you aren't even attempting to cite examples.

          Have you never even heard of us deposing the democratically elected ruler of Iran?

          Are you even remotely aware of what the CIA has done in South America?

          Here's the Washington Post [washingtonpost.com] calling that out. Here's them listing 72 times we did that [washingtonpost.com]. And this is just the Washington Post, one of the papers most critical of Trump. Here are 7 governme [foreignpolicy.com]

    • by guacamole ( 24270 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @04:00PM (#56266097)

      US has meddled in the elections and politics of other countries for decades, including 1996 Russian presidential elections [globalresearch.ca], the Georgian politics during and after the Rose Revolution of 2003, Ukrainian politics and elections of 2003 and during and after the 2013-14 constitutional crisis. Not to mention the open aggression against the governments of Iraq (2003), Libya (2011), and Syria (2011 through now).

      • by mi ( 197448 )

        US has meddled in the elections and politics of other countries for decades

        Sure. It is perfectly natural for a happy, prosperous country to advocate its own way of life.

        Not to mention the open aggression against the governments of Iraq

        "Open" is quite the opposite of "covert", is not it? And covert meddling is the subject of this thread.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Both Eltsin and Putin were little more than US placed viceroys in practice. Putin only recently started to show any sort of irreverence to his overlords kinda like False Dmitry I. But make no mistake, it's not about Russia, it's about clowns in US trying to make an external scapegoat for their own mistakes.
    • by ljw1004 ( 764174 )

      But none of it was important, until Trump won the elections

      Why do you say that? Obama "was deeply concerned... he wanted the entire intelligence community all over this." https://www.washingtonpost.com... [washingtonpost.com]

      Obama’s approach often seemed reducible to a single imperative: Don’t make things worse. As brazen as the Russian attacks on the election seemed, Obama and his top advisers feared that things could get far worse. They were concerned that any pre-election response could provoke an escalation from Putin.

      ...the principals and their deputies had by late September all but ruled out any pre-election retaliation against Moscow. They feared that any action would be seen as political and that Putin, motivated by a seething resentment of Clinton, was prepared to go beyond fake news and email dumps... "Our primary interest in August, September and October was to prevent them from doing the max they could do," said a senior administration official. “We made the judgment that we had ample time after the election, regardless of outcome, for punitive measures."

      So there it is: this was considered crucially important before the election, but Obama's administration made the careful deliberate decision to delay action until after the election so as not to make it partisan and to avoid worse harm.

    • by harrkev ( 623093 )

      Russia could have interfered in the elections in a way that the Democrats would approve of. Just put a million Russians on boats and send them to California. California would have been happy to let them vote. Then, the Russians get back on the boats and go home.

      • That would have approximately no effect. A temporary move like that, even if California let them vote, would not increase California's representation in Congress or its electoral votes.

  • cold war. Rmoney showed their hand in his debate with Obama when he called Russia our biggest threat. He accidentally revealed their plan.

  • Since we all went to Berlin in early November '89 to start hammering at the Wall, I thought the whole East vs. West problem was solved. With Russia supposedly no longer our enemy, and the US not working to isolate them via Truman's Doctrine, why would they want to mess with the USA? Wouldn't it be more productive to have them mess with a third-world country?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      >With Russia supposedly no longer our enemy,

      This was not, and is not the case. Republican sentiment was very anti-Russian prior to Trump. Russia doesn't have real elections anymore, Putin openly murders people in other countries, and on and on. If we condone these kind of things, we're just as bad.

  • Better question (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 15, 2018 @04:09PM (#56266147)

    Does this imply that the energy grid is on a network that could be accessed via the Internet? If that's the case, why, and why is it necessary?

    If society wants everything connected online and there's going to be prices to pay. I guess the prospect of mass surveillance and control over the population is too big of a payoff for them. What a fucked up world we live in.

    • Most electrical grids carry signals, some provide internet service over the power lines too.

      If it's got a signal and energy and it changes, it can transmit information.

      Did you think there were magic gremlins adjusting systems?

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      AC the US connected its grids to the wide open internet to replace union workers on site.
      No union workers, no union to deal with. No wages to increase. No union negotiations.
      Thats money back into profits and as shareholder value by using the internet as a network using fewer staff to watch over a lot of different sites 24/7.
      A few engineers can watch over sites and send in contractors when a computer system finds a problem.
      The bad part was the networking and automation was not done with site secure, en
      • Years ago, at a social event in San Francisco, I met someone gentlemen who were working to secure the critical power infrastructure from cyber attack. I don't recall the name of their company, not that it matters - they were contractors for Uncle Sam.

        They seemed competent. One had even read Amory Lovins' excellent and very relevant book "Brittle Power". Of course it was a social event, we didn't discuss work in great detail.

        So it seems to me that fedgov does care, at least a little bit, about securing the

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      I just worked on a project at a power plant. All the plant operation systems are air gapped from the Internet. That being said, the "business network" used all over the plant for non-plant operations is connected to the internet and it's not hard to see how the two networks could be bridged, accidentally or via "nearline" methods with USB sticks, connecting a plant system to the internet temporarily for updates and so on.

      I think for the separation to be truly effective you almost need spy agency level pr

    • Why? Because it was easy, and nobody paid attention to security. Look up SCADA [wikipedia.org]. There were never any serious plans to make it secure, as far as I can tell. This didn't really matter as long as SCADA communications were off the Internet, but a lot of them are.

      It wasn't any desire for surveillance, it was a desire to get stuff up and running before the engineer was fired, with no thought to security.

  • Maybe now Russia will release the video of Trump with that teenage hooker we've heard about . . .

  • How did it come to this, that slashdot is reduced to repeating US neocon waffle on a technology site.

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