By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
For you Die Hard fans out there, you may at some point get to live out your very own version of Live Free or Die Hard. In what could be the ultimate act of cyberterrorism against the United States, Russia has left us a gift in our infrastructure – a Trojan Horse form of malware, codenamed BlackEnergy, that is now pervasive throughout our systems and we don’t think we can get rid of it for years, if ever. We are talking about the power grid, water treatment plants, gas lines and nuclear power plants – America’s very life lines. The stupidity of all this makes my eyes bleed. We put our vital infrastructure on the Internet, opened the doors and invited the vampires in for a good time. Now, DHS says it is a ticking cyber bomb that could cause an economic catastrophe.
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The news of America’s impending Fire Sale, comes on the heels of finding out that the White House computers were hacked. From what I understand they were down or crippled for two weeks, but I’ll bet you didn’t hear about it. It would seem that the Russians have been keeping their hackers busy day and night like evil, little elves getting ready for a blacked-out Christmas. Under a strong leader, these acts would be considered an act of war. Under Obama, they are covered up and ignored. The Russians truly love Barack Obama.
The malware was implanted originally in 2011, but has not been triggered yet. I’m sure Russia is waiting for just the right moment. Perhaps when they invade Europe or as a preemptive attack if they think the US is getting frisky and ready to hack their systems. The really mind boggling thing is it took three years to detect and we have no idea really how to eradicate it. If the big players can ferret it out of their systems, smaller players in the infrastructure game without the resources of the big boys won’t be able to and they will infect the big boys all over again. How many times have I said, the Cold War never ended, it shifted and you are looking at the new digs of our enemies. It is a form of mutually assured destruction — if we try to stop the Russkies in their conquest plans, then we get hit – hard.
From ABC News:
The hack became known to insiders last week when a DHS alert bulletin was issued by the agency’s Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team to its industry members. The bulletin said the “BlackEnergy” penetration recently had been detected by several companies.
DHS said “BlackEnergy” is the same malware that was used by a Russian cyber-espionage group dubbed “Sandworm” to target NATO and some energy and telecommunications companies in Europe earlier this year. “Analysis of the technical findings in the two reports shows linkages in the shared command and control infrastructure between the campaigns, suggesting both are part of a broader campaign by the same threat actor,” the DHS bulletin said.
The hacked software is very advanced. It allows designated workers to control various industrial processes through the computer, an iPad or a smart phone, sources said. The software allows information sharing and collaborative control.
The new Axis of Evil buddies – Russia, China and Iran – have been at war with the free world for some time now. They are really stepping of their cyberespionage game of late:
“It’s quite troubling that geopolitical tensions are now escalating in a cybercontext,” said Trend Micro Chief Cybersecurity Officer Tom Kellermann. “We’ve seen this with Iran. We’ve seen it with North Korea, and in a limited fashion, with the Russian regime in Estonia and Georgia. But what we’re seeing now is a campaign of infiltration that’s truly unprecedented.”
For the last seven years, Russian hackers have been worming their way into the computer systems of governments, military branches, security organizations and even NATO. The Chinese have been at it just as long and just as hard as the Russians – the Americans have been twiddling their thumbs and watching their feckless leader play golf. You see, Russia and China have been gathering intel on our military and security measures for a long time – they are preparing for the day when they take us down. There has been a dramatic escalation of attacks in the last year on our systems and we seem to not have noticed until now. Seven years is a long time – heck, three years is an eternity – plenty of time to infiltrate and leave nifty gifts all over the bloody place from Russia with love.
Oh, and the really awesome, nifty part of this attack? The bad guys can trigger whatever presents are left behind with a laptop, cellphone or a tablet device. Terrorism has never been more high tech or easier. Simply reach out and touch someone — lethally.
“What worries me most here is that since July, there’s been a dramatic increase in sophistication, organization and escalation of attacks on significant U.S. interests coming from entities in the former Soviet bloc,” Kellermann said.
“A lot of the people who used to target financial institutions and perform financial crimes are now acting in a patriotic fashion for Russia,” he added.
When put in a broader context, the acceleration in cyberattacks affiliated with Russia can be very disturbing.
Russia has been poking the European badger more and more as of late. In, fact… they just rolled tanks into the Ukraine. Poland is stepping up their defenses against Russia as well and countries are taking sides. Hungary is getting ready to ally with Russia and on it goes. Here’s a peek at what Russia has been up to via NewsMax.com:
Russia Stokes Fears of a European Invasion
A disclosure that Russia launched a simulated attack on NATO member Denmark is raising concerns that President Vladimir Putin could be preparing an invasion of Europe, according to a new report.
The simulated attack took place on Bornholm, a Danish island in the Baltic Sea, the Danish Defense Intelligence Service (DDIS) has revealed, stating that Russia sent military jets equipped with live missiles to Bornholm in June.
DDIS did not release further details but said the simulated attack was the largest Russian military exercise over the Baltic Sea since 1991.
Russia has been testing NATO defenses in recent weeks, the news website Inquisitr reported. In a period of 24 hours, Russia dispatched 19 combat aircraft to test the defenses of neighboring countries and also test-launched a ballistic missile in the Barents Sea, an arm of the Arctic Ocean.
The Inquisitr article was cited by Johnson’s Russia List, a project of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs.
With relations strained between Russia and NATO over Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula told the Daily Beast: “It is not farfetched that at some point within the next two years Putin makes a more aggressive move in Eastern Europe and uses a nuclear threat to deter a NATO response.”
Washington Post columnist George Will recently theorized that Putin could be aiming to destroy NATO by invading one of the Baltic states, Latvia, Lithuania, or Estonia, which like Ukraine have Russian-speaking minorities.
“Putin invades one of these NATO members,” he wrote. “NATO invokes article 5 — an attack on any member is an attack on all — or NATO disappears and the Soviet Union, NATO’s original raison d’etre, is avenged.”
So, you see… while America is distracted by a communist in the White House, Russia, China and Iran are carrying out long-range plans. BlackEnergy is a malware toolkit that has been employed by multiple criminal groups over the years. All roads lead to Russia and the Sandworm Team who wrote the code on this one.
North Korea now has nuclear warheads for missiles. Iran is about to go nuclear thanks to Obama, who just sent a Neville-Chamberlain type love letter to the Ayatollah. Russia is invading countries and China is getting ready to seize others. Nothing to see here though – our security is just fine according to Obama.
Not only is the power grid very vulnerable to an EMP attack because our country refuses to harden the grid, we are now wide open to devastating cyber warfare. Just at what point do we call these attacks an act of war? So, what do you think of Red Dawn now? Still hopelessly implausible?