Published: Sat, March 17, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Laurence Reese

The Trump administration says Russian cyberattacks targeted USA and European utility infrastructure

The Trump administration says Russian cyberattacks targeted USA and European utility infrastructure

The US on Thursday sanctioned five entities and 19 individuals in response to "ongoing nefarious attacks emanating from Russia", citing state meddling in the 2016 presidential elections among the reasons for the move.

The Russian government targeted US energy and other critical infrastructure facilities with cyber-attacks, according to the US Department of Home Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

National security officials pointed to the poisoning of a former spy in the United Kingdom with a military-grade nerve agent and aggression in Ukraine as some of the malicious actions by Russian Federation.

Russia's deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, says the Kremlin is responding calmly to the new sanctions and — in his words — "taking this in our stride". "It's easy to see how Russia could leverage these risky footholds to test our red lines and threaten us with sabotage in the event of escalating hostilities, such as new Russian incursions on former Soviet territories". Mueller is also investigating any potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow officials, something Trump denies.

Mr. Trump, who has long resisted personally speaking out against Mr. Putin, has been criticized for slow-walking sanctions.

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According to Mueller's indictment, the Internet Research Agency created fake social media accounts to sow discord during the 2016 presidential campaign, orchestrated pro-Trump rallies from afar and hired actors to dress as Hillary Clinton in cages at demonstrations, among other provocations. Now we must protect our elections going forward.

While that investigation has received harsh criticisms from the Republican party, the Trump administration's decision to include those individuals in the sanctions could serve as a defacto acknowledgement that Russian Federation did indeed work to manipulate the election process for their own gain. Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota Democrat. The Trump administration is right to punish these Russian agencies and individuals since they criminally breached USA computer systems. The administration has not yet responded, a spokesman for Cantwell's office said on Thursday.

"It's more of the pressure we need to put on Russian Federation". The government's report did not say how successful the attacks were.

Even so, government and industry leaders said the attacks underscored the increased threat of electronic and computer-based attacks on a range of infrastructure. "Something that should never, ever happen".

Among those being sanctioned are the 13 Russians indicted in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe last month.

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Numerous main entities and individuals hit - including the spy agencies and alleged "troll factory" boss Yevgeny Prigozhin - already face asset freezes and travel bans, either put in place under former president Barack Obama's administration or for actions linked to Russia's actions in Ukraine.

The penalties for the first time use new powers Congress passed a year ago to punish Moscow for election meddling. Those targets include officials working for the Russian military intelligence agency, GRU.

The United States and Britain last month jointly blamed Russian Federation for the NotPetya attack, which the Treasury Department on Thursday called "the most destructive and costly cyber-attack in history".

The chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee praised the Trump administration's moves against Russian Federation and said more needs to be done.

The DHS report describes the attacks as "a multi-stage intrusion campaign by Russian government cyber actors" and claims that those behind the attacks are targeting two types of entities.

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Numerous targeted power plants are conventional, but the attacks included at least one nuclear power plant in Kansas, Bloomberg News reported in July.

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