Grizzly Steppe, the Russian hacking operation that is credited with leaking crucial information about the United States election, has been traced to a Vermont utility grid and a code that is associated with their system was found.
While it is not believed that the Russians used the code to disrupt the election, its discovery casts serious doubts on the overall vulnerability of the United States electrical grid. The United States government has also become fearful of the Russians potentially penetrating power grids to launch more serious attacks in the future.
Utility industry officials and government employees regularly monitor the grid, with an eye towards avoiding any sort of long term disruption to the nation’s emergency or medical services.
According to a statement released by Burlington Electric, a malware code was detected in a laptop that was not previously connected to any of their grid systems. Once the code was discovered, the firm took action immediately, by isolating the laptop and alerting the proper authorities.
Vermont governor Peter Shumlin is imploring federal officials to complete a full investigation into the matter, to make sure that it never happens again. The attack shows how relentless Russian hackers can be and serves as an important reminder that we are not always as safe as we may believe that we are.
President Obama has been widely criticized for his lack of retaliation against Russia prior to the election, but he has since explained that United States countermeasures were avoided as a means of keeping Moscow from disrupting the nation’s ability to count votes on Election Day.