Russia’s energy system under siege from cyber-attacks by the West

Over the past year cyber-attacks on the Russian Federation’s  energy system have intensified.

The main sources of malware distribution are Internet resources in the United States, European Union and Ukraine.

Washington actively recruits hackers-mercenaries and trains the so-called Ukrainian "IT-army” that uses information and communication technologies of its allies and controlled private companies to carry out attacks on Russian infrastructure.

In December 2022, the Politico newspaper reported that Nato countries intended to use additional cyber forces (more than a thousand mercenaries) and the latest technologies in the Ukrainian conflict to counter Russia.

The article noted that at the moment testing is also being carried out on the use of artificial intelligence technologies to achieve the goals set in the region.

The main dangers of cyber-attacks are that they cannot only put the country's energy system facilities out of action, but also trigger catastrophes that will damage the environment and lead to serious human casualties.

Some the most striking examples of the destructive actions of cyber sabotage on the energy infrastructure are those carried out on the Venezuelan energy system in 2019.

According to that country's authorities, hackers attacked the automatic control system of the largest hydroelectric power station El Guri.

The Venezuelan government decided to temporarily stop the operation of the hydroelectric power plant, which led to a power outage in almost the entire country.

For almost a day, 21 out of 23 states were without electricity including social facilities - hospitals, schools, etc. - were cut off from the power supply.

It is worth paying special attention to the fact that the cyber-attack was carried out exactly when the political crisis broke out in the country, and this is not surprising, because one of the goals of cyber diversions is to destabilise a country.

Assessing the potential consequences of the information technology impact on the Russian infrastructure, many experts agree that such cyber sabotage can trigger uncontrolled processes in the global cyberspace and cause significant damage not only to Russia, but also to other states.

The budgets of the US for cyber warfare have been increased to US$11 while Britain increased its budget to six million pounds.

We can conclude that the geography and scale of attacks will change significantly with critical infrastructure of countries with objectionable governments in the south - East and South Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East being the targets.

Another threat that should not be ignored is the possible leakage of malware used by Western intelligence agencies, which can be used by hackers from Ukraine and other regions for criminal purposes.

An example of such attacks is the case of the theft by the shadow broker group of the codes of the windows operating system from the US NSA to create the wannacry virus, which blocked the work of many organizations around the world in 2017.

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