Reportedly, Russian hackers cooperating with the paramilitary Wagner group are seeking to “disrupt or destroy” certain parts of the UK’s national infrastructure, a cabinet minister warns at a cyber security conference in Belfast.
The Cabinet Office Minister, Oliver Dowden, will be granting a national alert to the key businesses among those under possible threat, as Russia struggles in the war against Ukraine, they’re trying new ways of attacking the west.
Leaked Intelligence obtained by the US in early April warned that Kremlin hackers have bragged about supposedly hacking control systems belonging to a Canadian Gas Pipeline during late February, with their focus being to cause an explosion.
Dowden will likely state at the Cyber UK event that revealing the threat is “not something we do lightly.” He will contend that it is necessary to convince companies in utilities and other critical sectors that they must invest as much as necessary in cybersecurity “to defend the nation.”
He will characterise the adversaries as “ideologically motivated, as opposed to financially motivated,” adding that they are less likely to exhibit the same level of restraint as those directly employed by a nation state, making the situation “particularly worrisome.”
A top-secret intelligence snippet from the Pentagon’s files that was disclosed earlier this month warned that a Russian cybercriminal organisation called Zarya claimed to have seized control of the unnamed pipeline’s control systems. The hackers then contacted the country’s FSB intelligence agency for further instructions.
Electronic surveillance revealed that the hackers “shared screenshots” with the FSB “alleging capability to increase valve pressure, disable alarms and initiate an emergency shutdown of an unidentified petrol distribution station,” according to the report.
Russian hackers have been targeting both Ukrainian utilities and other critical infrastructure like gas,electricity, telecoms and postal networks on which daily life relies on. Serious attacks on both Ukraine and NATO countries remain rare but in the US a gas pipeline on the east coast was closed by extortionist hackers and caused a shortage of petrol and jet fuel. The hackers have mainly been focusing on cyber-attacks in conjunction with missile strikes aimed at power stations on it’s energy grid.