WASHINGTON — Russian hackers have been scanning the systems of energy firms and different important infrastructure in america, and state-sponsored hacking by Russia presents a “current” threat to American nationwide safety, a high FBI official advised lawmakers on Tuesday.
“The threat from Russia in a criminal sense, in the nation state sense, is very, very real — and current,” mentioned Bryan Vorndran, an assistant director within the FBI’s cyber division, throughout a listening to earlier than a US Home of Representatives panel.
Within the weeks since Russia’s unprovoked assault in opposition to Ukraine, the White Home and the Justice Division have been warning US firms about intelligence suggesting that Russia has been taking early steps towards probably launching cyberattacks.
Mr. Vorndran advised lawmakers that “instances of Russian scanning” networks within the US energy sector have elevated just lately, and he mentioned such exercise represents a “reconnaissance phase” by Russia to strive and perceive an organization’s defenses and whether or not it has vulnerabilities that could possibly be exploited.
“It’s an extremely important part of the overall attacks,” he famous, including later in his testimony that Russia represents “one of the two most capable cyber adversaries we face globally,” and is “a formidable foe.”
Final yr, properly earlier than Russia’s assault on Ukraine, US President Joseph R. Biden brazenly warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that sure important infrastructure needs to be “off-limits” to cyberattacks.
That warning utilized to 16 totally different sorts of infrastructure — an obvious reference to the 16 sectors designated as important by the US Homeland Safety Division, together with telecommunications, healthcare, meals and energy.
Since that point Mr. Vorndran advised lawmakers he was conscious of software program firms, amongst others who’ve been focused with assaults.
“There are compromises against some of those 16 critical infrastructure sectors,” he mentioned. “I can’t speak specifically to which ones.” — Reuters