Russian hackers target 3 US nuclear labs in phishing attack
Cold River, a Russian hacking group, targeted three nuclear research laboratories in the US in an attempt to obtain the passwords, as per Reuters. The attempted attack happened between August and September last year, around the time UN experts visited the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine amid heavy shelling in the area. US and Russian officials are yet to comment on the attack.
Why does this story matter?
- Any sentence with the two words "nuclear" and "attack" is enough to make heads turn. Add the word "hack" to the equation and we have a deadly trio at hand.
- Therefore, it is no wonder that the news of Russian hackers targeting US nuclear research labs has created a sense of worry.
Brookhaven, Argonne, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories were the targets
Cold River is known for taking on Kremlin's enemies. This time, the targets were Brookhaven (BNL), Argonne (ANL), and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories (LLNL). The group carried out a phishing attack by creating fake login pages for each institution and emailing nuclear scientists to make them reveal their passwords. It is unclear whether the attacks were successful or not.
Why were the specific labs targeted?
Now that information about the attacks has been revealed, the question everyone is asking is: "Why Brookhaven, Argonne, and Lawrence Livermore?" Unsurprisingly, no one has been able to pinpoint the motive behind the attacks. Considering Cold River's penchant for intelligence collection, that could be the reason behind the blitz. It could have also been a 'hack and leak' operation.
Cold River leaked former MI6 chief's emails
Cold River first appeared on the intelligence radar after it targeted the British foreign office in 2016. Since then, it has been involved in several high-profile cyberattacks. Last May, the group hacked and leaked emails belonging to the former head of MI6. It created a website containing private emails of hardline Brexit campaigners. It has also targeted three NGOs investigating war crimes.