According to MSNBC via Christian Science Monitor (no other major online sources picked this up, BTW), there was a major cyberattack on US natural gas companies, focusing on the pipelines. The alert was issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). What's interesting of note is that it started more than a month ago and even Canadian companies may also have been hit as well.
Suspects, anyone? China? If this took place before the blind Chinese activist episode, then I'm likely to rule them out as suspect number one. Could be green dudes with big mojos to take on the US government or the gas companies.
Another suspect? Supporters of CISP, Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, who wants the law to be signed. Right now, it's in the hands of the Senate and the President has promised a swift veto. However, should this be more publicized, maybe there could be enough political pressure to get this through the White House and the Democratic controlled Senate. And it'll just be the cover the President needs for him to sign this and promise to revisit it later. CISP has received strong industry support including Microsoft and is somewhat bipartisan.
There have been three alerts issued by Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT). And this one is pretty important. ICS-CERT is charge of safeguarding the nation's industries' control systems from attacks. What's interesting about these attacks is that they were purposefully requested by agents to allow to continue. In essence, allow the cyberspies, cspies, to continuing their work provided that no compromises take place that would endanger lives or supplies.
What happens next? Chances are that the spies have already been alerted about their attempted infiltrations. We don't know how far they got. Most countries with vast sophisticated systems and companies with vast resources and technologies are under daily attacks by private hacker groups, organized crimes, and nation players, sanctioned or otherwise.
We'll need to keep an eye on this to see just how far the latest series of attack go. At least now we know of the ICS-CERT and what it is tasked to do.
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