The Washington Post ran with an article entitled, “Russian operation hacked a Vermon utility, showing risk to U.S. electrical grid security, official says”. This was the opening salvo, followed by a litany of main stream media personalities screaming “The Kremlin is coming! The Kremlin is coming!” But, as per the usual, the main stream media was content to bypass actual though and investigation because this story-line fit a comfy new narrative they’ve been force feeding the country.
The Washington Post corrected course slightly with the following notation:
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that Russian hackers had penetrated the U.S. electric grid. Authorities say there is no indication of that so far. The computer at Burlington Electric that was hacked was not attached to the grid.
The computer was not attached to the grid. That’s kind of an important fact when discussing a potential hack of an American power grid. So what actually happened?
From the various reports and Burlington Electric’s statement, there was in fact no hack. Here’s Burlington’s statement in its entirety:
Last night, U.S. utilities were alerted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of a malware code used in Grizzly Steppe, the name DHS has applied to a Russian campaign linked to recent hacks. We acted quickly to scan all computers in our system for the malware signature. We detected the malware in a single Burlington Electric Department laptop not connected to our organization’s grid systems. We took immediate action to isolate the laptop and alerted federal officials of this finding. Our team is working with federal officials to trace this malware and prevent any other attempts to infiltrate utility systems. We have briefed state officials and will support the investigation fully.
So, as it were, from the best that can be gathered at this point, there was no hack and it’s uncertain whether Russia as a State or any Russians were involved. The only thing indicating Russia at all is that the malware code appears to be similar to codes used by Russians preivously. Still, the MSM will have you believe that Vladimir Putin rode a great white shark across the ocean and personally inserted the malware code into a computer attached to the Vermont Electric Grid.
If this story had any substantive legs, or fins, and there was an actual threat to the power grid, it would be very serious. All the systems and parties involved in this alleged hack treated the potential threat as a serious matter. It is clear that Vermont Utility and Burlington Electric have protocols in place to scan for any such intrusions and also protocols in place for notifying the appropriate authorities when they encounter any abnormalities. They also know how to not overreact, unlike the MSM.
All it takes these days to take over the media cycle is for anonymous “officials” to feed gullible “journalists” half stories with a hot topic theme: Russian hacking. It does make one wonder if there is any substance to any of the claims about Russian hacking. Regardless, if stories like this keep popping up, I fear that we will swiftly approach “the boy who cried wolf” territory, which can be quite a dangerous scenario. Vigilance is key with national security and especially so with cyber-security.
The sad takeaway is that it appears that there is a push by an outgoing administration to heighten tensions between the U.S. and Russia to levels not seen since the end of the Cold War. To what end? Likely, to occupy the incoming administration with a hostile Russia in an effort to prevent the thousands of regulations and executive orders from being reversed. But that’s just my opinion.
Happy New Year!