Ukrenergo confirmed that preliminary results of its investigation showed that the Ukraine power outage occurred in December was caused by hackers.

In December 2016, the Government Ukraine energy company Ukrenergo suffered a severe power outage that affected the ”North” substation at Pivnichna. The incident caused blackouts in the city of Kiev and neighboring regions.

The head of the NEC “Ukrenergo” Vsevolod Kovalchuk explained in a message posted on Facebook that experts at the company were able to restore power in 30 minutes with a manual procedure. According to Kovalchuk, the operations were fully restored after just over an hour.

Kovalchuk pointed out that an equipment malfunction or a cyber attack can be the cause of the problem. According to Kovalchuk, an “external interference through the data network” could have caused the power outage.

Ukraine power outage

 

In a statement sent via email to SecurityWeek on this, Ukrenergo confirmed that preliminary results of its investigation showed that the normal operation of workstations and SCADA systems had been disrupted due to “external influences.”

Once broken in the target network, attackers used a malware to gain a remote control of systems at the power plant. Experts are still investigating to establish a timeline of events and identify the entry point of the hackers. They don’t exclude that the threat could still be inside the target network in a dormant state.

The company is working to secure its system by implementing organizational and technological measures that would make its systems resilient to further attacks.

“The cyber-security company Information Systems Security Partners (ISSP) has linked the incident to a hack and blackout in 2015 that affected 225,000.” reported the BBC. “ISSP, a Ukrainian company investigating the incidents on behalf of Ukrenergo, now appears to be suggesting a firmer link.

It said that both the 2015 and 2016 attacks were connected, along with a series of hacks on other state institutions this December, including the national railway system, several government ministries and a national pension fund.

Oleksii Yasnskiy, head of ISSP labs, said: “The attacks in 2016 and 2015 were not much different – the only distinction was that the attacks of 2016 became more complex and were much better organised.“”

Who is behind the power outage?

Intelligence experts suspect blames the Russia one again.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Ukrenergo, hacking)

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President Barack Obama has ordered US intelligence agencies to deeper investigate the alleged Russian interference with the 2016 Presidential Election.

President Barack Obama is going to close his Presidential mandate, in one of the conclusive activities he has ordered intelligence agencies to deeper investigate the alleged Russian interference with the Presidential Election. He ordered a “full review” of cyber attacks against the DNC that attempted to influence the final vote of Americans.

“The President earlier this week instructed the intelligence community to conduct a full review of the pattern of malicious cyber activity related to our presidential election cycle,” said White House spokesman Eric Schultz.

The Obama’s counterterrorism and homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco announced that President Obama had “directed the Intelligence Community to conduct a full review of what happened during the 2016 election process.”

Monaco added the Trump administration would address rapidly growing cyber threats.

The President requested that the full report will be released before the end of his term, in January of 2017.

“Obama has asked the intelligence community to deliver its final report before he leaves office, raising the prospect that agencies may conclude that a foreign power successfully altered the trajectory of the Nov. 8 election just days before Trump’s inauguration.” reported the Politico.com.

“The review will put the spate of hacks — which officials have blamed on Russia — “in a greater context” by framing them against the “malicious cyber activity” that may have occurred around the edges of the 2008 and 2012 president elections, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said during Friday’s briefing.”

“This will be a review that is broad and deep at the same time,” he added.

Obama

Many US politicians urge a response to the Russian Government, just before the 2016 US Presidential Election, the US Vice President Joe Biden during an interview with NBC explained that “message” would be sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the alleged hacking.

It is a historical declaration, for the first time in a diplomatic context, a member of a government invoke a cyber attack as a deterrent measure.

“Vice President Joe Biden told “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd on Friday that “we’re sending a message” to Putin and that “it will be at the time of our choosing, and under the circumstances that will have the greatest impact.” reported the NBCnews.

“When asked if the American public will know a message was sent, the vice president replied, “Hope not.“”

Recently, at a Heritage Foundation event, Chairman of House Homeland Security Michael McCaul, also urges a response to the Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

“If we don’t respond and show them that there are consequences,” McCaul said, “the bad behavior will continue… our democracy itself is being targeted.”

Trump has a different opinion of the alleged Russian interference in the Presidential Election:

“I don’t believe they interfered,” Trump told in an interview with Time magazine. “That became a laughing point – not a talking point, a laughing point. Anytime I do something, they say, ‘Oh, Russia interfered.’”

The unique certainly is that the results of this “full review” on pre-election hacking could have a serious impact also on the US internal affairs.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – 2016 Presidential Election, President Obama)

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According to the German Intelligence, the APT 28 group, also known as Fancy Bear, is ramping up information warfare against Germany and the rest of West.

US intelligence agencies blame the Russian government for ramping up infowar against the US and the West. According to the US Government, Russian-state hackers hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and other political organizations worldwide.

Hackers conducted campaigns to interfere with the internal affairs of foreign states, last victim in order of time is Germany, this is the opinion of the Germany’s chief of domestic intelligence who warned of this threat last week.

On December 8, the Germany’s Bundesamt für Verfassungsshutz (BfV) has issued a press release warning of a rise in Russian propaganda and hacking campaigns.

“We see aggressive and increased cyber spying and cyber operations that could potentially endanger German government officials, members of parliament and employees of democratic parties,” reads a statement issued by Hans-Georg Maassen, head of the BfV agency

The goal of Russian hackers is to spread uncertainty, strengthen extremist groups and parties, with the intent of “weaken or destabilise the Federal Republic of Germany.”

Both the heads of the German foreign intelligence agency (BND), Bruno Kahl, and the domestic intelligence agency (BfV), Hans-Georg Maassen, have warned about increasing Russian cyber operations in the country.

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