In-brief: Ukraine is a ‘test bed’ for massive and disruptive cyber attacks on critical infrastructure that might be launched against other adversaries, the U.S. included, Andy Greenberg argues in an article in Wired Magazine.
Andy Greenberg over at Wired goes long on the hack of Ukraine’s electric grid in December 2015 and 2016. Greenberg’s article endorses the idea that Russia is behind the two attacks on Ukraine’s grid and that they were a ‘test bed’ for critical infrastructure attacks that might be launched against other adversaries, the U.S. included.
Far from isolated incidents, the grid attacks were part of a massive campaign of hacks intended to undermine Ukraine’s society and economy, Greenberg notes.
From the article:
In Ukraine, the quintessential cyberwar scenario has come to life. Twice. On separate occasions, invisible saboteurs have turned off the electricity to hundreds of thousands of people. Each blackout lasted a matter of hours, only as long as it took for scrambling engineers to manually switch the power on again. But as proofs of concept, the attacks set a new precedent: In Russia’s shadow, the decades-old nightmare of hackers stopping the gears of modern society has become a reality.
And the blackouts weren’t just isolated attacks. They were part of a digital blitzkrieg that has pummeled Ukraine for the past three years—a sustained cyberassault unlike any the world has ever seen. A hacker army has systematically undermined practically every sector of Ukraine: media, finance, transportation, military, politics, energy. Wave after wave of intrusions have deleted data, destroyed computers, and in some cases paralyzed organizations’ most basic functions. “You can’t really find a space in Ukraine where there hasn’t been an attack,” says Kenneth Geers, a NATO ambassador who focuses on cybersecurity.