China has long been accused of backing its army of hackers in their numerous cyber espionage attempts. A report now reveals that Russian government may be playing a similar role, supporting a group of hackers who have targeted hundreds of energy companies globally.
Russia has interests in the energy sector worldwide, being an exporter of many different products used in the energy sector. In other words, the increasing competition in the energy sector around the globally also poses a disadvantage to the Russian economy.
So it would make perfect sense if a group of Russian hackers launched a very sophisticated attack on energy companies all over the world. These hackers apparently tried to not only sabotage the systems of some of these companies but also steal their intellectual property as well as highly classified trade secrets.
In some cases, the hackers specifically focused on such data which may give Russia leverage in its energy-related deals. It is the nature and target of these attacks that has led the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike to conclude that Russian government is most probably supporting these hackers.
This assertion is further supported by the fact that the hackers in this case have been working with a 9 to 5 routine on Moscow hours, which is typical for such hackers who are hired by the governments. Although it is typically hard to pin down the blame of a hacking attempt at a specific entity, CrowdStrike executives say that a lot of other data proves that Russian state is behind the attacks.
The whole operation by the Russian hackers has apparently been codenamed ‘Energetic Bear‘ in an obvious reference to the energy companies which are the planned targets. As part of the operation, the hackers also targeted European governments and defense contractors. The whole thing is a harsh reminder that countries such as Russia and China are very willing to use their hackers to launch international cyber attacks and espionage operations.