Russia thwarted US cyber attacks on power grid, say reports
18 June 2019
Russia has thwarted attempts by the United States to carry out cyber attacks on the control systems of Russian infrastructure, Russian news agencies cited an unnamed security source as saying on Monday.
Russian news agencies RIA and TASS reported the cyber attacks days after the New York Times cited unnamed government officials as saying that the United States had inserted potentially disruptive computer code into Russia’s power grid.
The US is escalating cyber attacks on Russia's electric power grid and has placed potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system, The New York Times reported on Saturday.
The Kremlin had said earlier on Monday that the US newspaper report was worrying and showed that a cyber war was, in theory, possible.
“We see and note such attempts,” the Russian security source was quoted as saying in response to the report. “However, we manage to neutralise these actions.”
Foreign intelligence services have stepped up cyber attacks against Russia in recent years and are targeting mainly transport, banking and energy infrastructure, TASS and RIA cited sources as saying.
Russia-US relations have reached post-Cold War lows after the Crimea annexation by Russia and allegations that Moscow hacked and meddled in order to tilt the 2016 presidential election in Donald Trump’s favour.
Moscow had denied allegations of interfering in US elections.
The placement of the malware deep within the Russian grid is something that had never been attempted previously, the Times reported, adding that it is intended partly as a test to put the US in a position to conduct cyber attacks should a significant conflict arise with Russia.
The Times quoting administration officials said President Donald Trump probably had not been briefed in any detail about the US computer code being implanted inside the Russian grid.
Pentagon and intelligence officials were hesitant to tell Trump about the details of the operations against Russia as there was concern over how Trump would react, officials said.
In a string of tweets, Trump said the Times report was "NOT TRUE," and called the Times' reporting "a virtual act of Treason" and the news media the "enemy of the people."
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday said unnamed strategic parts of the Russian economy had endured foreign cyber attacks many times in the past and that the authorities were constantly working to try to keep the economy and what he called sensitive parts of its safe.