Last week we told you that according to the Washington Post, it was not the Russian government that attempted to hack the November elections, it was our very own Department of Homeland Security, acting under a directive from the White House. Now, the Post is reporting that the much publicized “power grid attack “ that has supposedly been traced back to the Russians is also a “Fake News Story”. Federal officials investigating the alleged Russian attack on the small Vermont utility computer, last week, now say they are finding no evidence that the attack was part of any Russian government effort to target or hack the utility.
According to experts and officials close to the investigation, An employee at Burlington Electric Department was checking his Yahoo email account Friday, probably one of those “Date Sexy Russian Women” emails, and triggered an alert indicating that his computer had connected to a suspicious IP address. That IP address was in fact, associated by authorities with the Russian hacking operation that infiltrated the Democratic Party.
An official involved with the investigation, told the company that traffic with this particular address is found elsewhere in the country and is not unique to Burlington Electric. That fact—that has been omitted from news and official political releases—suggests the company wasn’t being targeted by the Russians. Indeed, officials say it is possible that the traffic is benign, since this particular IP address is not always connected to malicious activity.
On Friday, the Vermont utility reported its alert to federal authorities, some of whom told The Washington Post that code associated with the Russian hackers had been discovered within the system of the Vermont utility. That evening, The Post published its report, and Burlington Electric released a statement identifying itself as the utility in question and saying the firm had “detected the malware” in a single laptop. But despite all the hoopla, the company admits that there was no real threat, since the laptop involved was not connected to its grid systems.
Following the initial report by the Post, The newspaper retracted the initial story and said that it had initially reported incorrectly that the country’s electric grid had been penetrated through a Vermont utility. That appears not to have been the case based on Burlington Electric statement saying that the potentially compromised laptop had not been connected to the grid. Unlike most of the rest of the media and government officials that have since doubled down on their statements and actions, the Post immediately corrected its article and later added an editor’s note explaining the mistake.
Meanwhile, U.S. officials are continuing to investigate the laptop. In the course of their investigation, though, they have found on the device a package of software tools commonly used by online criminals to deliver malware. The package, known as Neutrino, does not appear to be connected with Grizzly Steppe, which U.S. officials have identified as the Russian hacking operation. The FBI, which declined to comment, is continuing to investigate how the malware got onto the laptop. But for the time being, it would appear that the vicious Russian hacking attempt was nothing more than some oversexed, bored worker that waned to check out the hot Russian babes.
All the rest is just a case of an over-eager Obama administration trying to look tough again to the rest of the world and ending up much like the utility worker standing there with their pants down and their hands full, again.
©2017 R. L. Grimes, All Rights Reserved.