Vermont Utility Company Finds Russian Malware on Systems

Russians Attacking US Electric Grid?

Malware found on a Burlington Electric Company laptop matches the malware variant used in the Democratic National Convention (DNC) attack in 2016.  The DNC has made reports the malware they found was created by Russian hackers.  If that is the case, these same hackers got into a utility company in Vermont.  But why?

Initial concerns were for the security of the electric grid, which contributes to our economy, health and safety.  According to Local 10 News, this was not an attack on the electric grid.  The laptop infected was not connected to the grid in anyway.  Also, the utility company serves a relatively small population.  If Russia were to attack our electric grid, one would presume it would be done in an area that is densely populated.

Perhaps this was simply a test, to see if they could breach the system?  Or maybe their thought was to start small, then work toward the bigger target?  We can’t really be certain.  But one thing is for sure.  This should be used as a warning.  Our nation’s cyber security needs to be increased to mitigate the risks of cyber criminals taking down not only our electric grid, but our businesses and government as well.

We have been warned.  But what are we going to do next?

Be Proactive

Malware, or malicious software, can be prevented from infecting PCs if the proper steps are taken.

  • First, you need a solid security solution that implements application whitelisting technology.  Application whitelisting prevents malware from executing, because it will only approve trusted programs and applications to run.  Malware will never be tested and deemed “trusted”, therefore it will not be on the whitelist–thus unable to run.
  • Second, educate PC users.  Computer users need to understand what today’s cyber security threats are.  They need to know what to look for in phishing scams, malware attacks, and tech support scams.  If they don’t know they are far more likely to fall for these schemes.
  • Update everything!! If you have an outdated program on your computer, you are holding the door open for hackers.  Updates are made to programs and systems to not only enhance the program for user function and experience, but also to enhance any security vulnerabilities on the previous version.  If you fail to update, you’re failing to keep your system secure.
  • Minimize administrative rights.  Many times malware attacks seek out the administrator, because typically that is who has the most access.  By minimizing administrative rights, and removing any unnecessary access you will minimize the impact of any attacks.

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2 thoughts on “Vermont Utility Company Finds Russian Malware on Systems”

  1. I commented yesterday about this. It is not true according to PBS tonight.
    However the investments in Russia owned by trump making hacking of systems makes it easy with his connections. Seems like Trump will be a lap dog of Putin or lose 1 1/2 Billion $$$$$$$
    I hope this is not the case but considering the reports of the CIA and Homeland Security we are in for a rough ride..

  2. Interesting reading in the that that you can judge behavior in the future by looking at behavior in the past.
    What bothers me is how lazy American companies are OR Illerate.
    Our incoming president is a lapdog of Putin. It is estimated Trump has over 1 1/2 Billion invested in Russia.
    After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1991 many Americans bought investments in Russia and bought them up for pennies on the dollar. When Putin came to power he started taking these investments away from Americans for his elite friends. We might be being hacked thru remaining companies in Russia still owned by Americans.???????°°°°☺
    Having used almost every anti virus or firewall since the 90″s I have found PC MATIC to be the best product on the market.

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