The Department of Homeland Security in the United States is asking energy and industrial firms in the U.S. to check computer networks this morning after word that a Russian hacking group called ‘Energetic Bear’ has targeted these companies.
The group is suspected of infecting industrial and energy firm networks around the world with a virus called the Havex Trojan.
The Havex Trojan
This particular software sends a map of network infrastructure back to the hacker’s command and control server. This would give the hackers direct access to these infrastructures causing a great deal of trouble for the companies impacted.
The Department of Homeland Security has refused to note, which companies are thought to be infected by the virus, but the department has stated that all companies in the energy and industrial sectors to check systems logs for any suspicious activity.
The Havex Trojan typically allows hackers to spy on activities related to a tapped network, but this virus also gives hackers the potential ability to cause major problems for companies. The virus can allow hackers to download software and to control system network. For obvious reasons, were this kind of control given to hackers, the result could be entirely devastating. While the U.S. government has not released a list of companies impacted by the virus, government officials have stated that the systems most impacted were located in Spain, the U.S., Italy, and Germany.
It’s not uncommon to hear of hacking attempts and warnings, but these things are often kept largely under wraps, and we tend to quickly forget about any hacking that did happen – aside from the NSA fiasco. The NSA, though, isn’t the only spying problem that companies and citizens have to worry about. The fact is that hacking happens frequently, and it needs to be more publicized than it currently is.
While a Russian hacking attempt is far from rare, the fact that these hackers could potentially control entire systems that are crucial to the flow of a country is frightening. Governments do not like to publish lists of companies impacted by such hackers, since this would give hacking groups more power in the form of fame (and it’s also not something that companies want clients to know about). But, that doesn’t mean that this type of warning shouldn’t be taken seriously. If you do run or work at an energy or industrial firm, make sure to check your systems this morning. The Havex Trojan is a particularly bad one, and that could mean a great deal of trouble.
Reporting the Virus
The best way to protect any kind of system from impending attacks is to make sure that systems are checked and updated regularly. Any suspicious activity should be reported, and, in fact, any activity that seems suspicious should be reported to the Department of Homeland Security (presumably, the department will provide the necessary steps for dismantling the virus).
Are these viruses getting worse, or are they remaining the same? It’s hard to tell, but all warnings such as this one should be taken seriously.