Russia-linked malware found on OUR electric company laptop

BURLINGTON, Vt. – Malware code is linked to the Russian hackers and found in a Vermont electric utility ‘ s computer is further evidence of “aggressive” the measures taken by that country against the united states, Vermont Democratic congressman said Saturday.

The Burlington Electric Department confirmed Friday it had found on one of the laptops of the malware code that is used in Grizzly Steppe, the name of Homeland Security has applied to a Russian campaign linked to the recent hacks. The company said that the US utilities were alerted by the Department of Homeland Security, on the Thursday of the code.

“This attack shows how often it occurs that the Russian hack is. It is systemic, ruthless, predatory,” Rep. Peter Welch said in a statement. “They will hack everywhere, even in Vermont, in the exercise of the options to disrupt our country.”

Welch said that the fight also underlined that the sanctions President Barack Obama took against Russia this week were justified. Russia has denied hacking U.S. systems, has been accused of interfering in the U.S. presidential election by the hacking of the U.s. political web sites and e-mail accounts.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, said the latest discovery of the malware “goes beyond the hackers having electronic fun.” It is the latest example of state-sponsored Russian hacking is a serious threat, the Vermont Democrat said in a statement Friday.

The Washington Post first reported on the Vermont utility’s discovery of the malware. Burlington Electric, which is municipal property, confirmed in a statement by e-mail to The Associated Press that the detected malware in a laptop is not connected to the grid systems. It said it has “immediate action to isolate the laptop and former federal officials.”

“Our team is working with federal officials to identify this malware and prevent any attempts to infiltrate utility systems,” the company said.

It said it had informed state officials and would fully support an investigation into the potential Russian hack.

Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin said his administration has in contact with the federal government and the state of the utilities.

“Vermonters and all Americans should be both alarmed and shocked that one of the world’s leading criminals, (the Russian President Vladimir Putin, is an attempt to hack into our electrical grid that we depend on to support our quality-of-life, the economy, health and safety,” the governor said in a statement.

He said that the hacking of the episode, the emphasis on the urgent need for the federal government to “vigorously and put an end to this kind of Russian interference.”

Burlington Electric, which says it is “in the forefront of the green energy revolution”, is one of the state’s two largest electric utilities. The other Colchester-based Green Mountain Power, said to protect its systems.

Green Mountain Power, which serves about 265,000 residential and business customers, said it was thoroughly reviewed recently for the security by Homeland Security. It said that it would continue to strictly monitor the systems and remain vigilant.”

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