Advanced hackers have demonstrated the ability to hijack critical infrastructure: US Government – National

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The advanced hackers demonstrated the ability to take control of a range of devices that help power power plants and factories, the US government said in an alert released on Wednesday. Internet spies to damage critical infrastructure.

United State cyber security The Infrastructure Security Agency said in a joint consultation with other government agencies that hacker malware could affect a type of device called programmable logic controllers made by Schneider Electric SCHN.PA and OMRON Corp 6645.T.

OMRON did not immediately respond with a message requesting comment. A spokesman for Schneider did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Controllers are common in a variety of industries — from gas to food production — but Robert Lee, CEO of cybersecurity firm Dragos, which helped detect the malware, said researchers believe the hackers’ intended targets were liquefied natural gas and electrical installations.

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In its alert, the Cyber ​​Security Agency urged critical infrastructure organizations, “particularly energy sector organizations,” to implement a series of recommendations aimed at preventing and detecting malware.

Although the alert was vague — it didn’t mention which hackers were believed to have developed the malware and provided no indication that the malware had actually been used — it sparked concern across the industry.

Programmable logic controllers are included in a large number of factories and factories and any interference in their operation can cause damage, from shutdowns to blackouts to chemical leaks, equipment crashes, or even explosions.

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He told me that the tool developed by the mysterious hackers was “highly capable” and has likely been in the works for several years.

“It’s as dangerous as people imagine,” he told me in an interview.

Western cybersecurity officials are already concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has recently seen the deployment of malware intended to cause blackouts.

In a sign of how serious the discovery was, CISA said it was making its announcement along with the Department of Energy, the National Security Agency and the FBI.

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She thanked Dragos, Mandiant, Microsoft, Palo Alto Networks, and Schneider Electric for their contributions to the alert.

(Reporting by Christopher Bing and Raphael Satter in Washington and James Pearson in London; Additional reporting by Matthew Brotthard in Paris; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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