The US government this week warned industrial firms about a hacking campaign targeting the nuclear and energy sectors.
Since at least May, hackers used tainted “phishing” e-mails to “harvest credentials” so they could gain access to networks of their targets, a joint report from the US Department of Homeland Security and FBI said.
The report provided to the industrial firms was reviewed by reporters on Friday. While disclosing attacks and warning that in some cases hackers succeeded in compromising the networks of their targets, it did not identify any specific victims.
“Historically, cyberactors have strategically targeted the energy sector with various goals ranging from cyberespionage to the ability to disrupt energy systems in the event of a hostile conflict,” the report said.
On Tuesday the energy-industry news Web site E&E News reported that US investigators were looking into cyberintrusions this year at multiple nuclear power generators.
There was no evidence safety systems had been compromised at affected plants, the report said.
The US government report said attackers conducted reconnaissance to gain information about the individuals whose computers they sought to infect so that they create “decoy documents” on topics of interest to their targets.
In an analysis, it described 11 files used in the attacks, including malware downloaders and tools that allow the hackers to take remote control of victims’ computers and travel across their networks.
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