Hack attack detected on energy gear in the U.S. and other countries

The discovery of a sophisticated hack attack against electricity companies and petroleum pipeline operators in the U.S. and several other nations has spurred fears that the energy industry could become an increasing target for cyber crooks.

In a blog post today, Mountain View security firm Symantec said it has discovered a hacking scheme it called Dragonfly, which “managed to compromise a number of strategically important organizations for spying purposes and, if they had used the sabotage capabilities open to them, could have caused damage or disruption to energy supplies in affected countries.”

Noting that Dragonfly appears to have been in operation since 2011 and likely is based in Eastern Europe, Symantec noted that most of the targets were in the United States, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Turkey and Poland.

Concerns about hackers disrupting energy operations have intensified since the so-called Stuxnet malware disabled Iran’s nuclear energy equipment in 2010, an attack widely attributed to the U.S.

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Steve Johnson Steve Johnson (288 Posts)

Steve Johnson covers the microchip industry, cyber security and the big-technology sector that includes Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and Cisco Systems.