Russian group suspected to be linked to Ukraine power station cyberattack

iSight Partners says the Sandworm team is likely involved

A cyberattack that knocked out power in the Ukraine last month is believed to have been initiated by a hacking group with strong Russian interests.

iSight Partners, a cybersecurity firm headquartered in Dallas, wrote on Thursday that a group called Sandworm was likely involved.

The link was made after a study of a malware sample called KillDisk and a related one used by Sandworm in the past called BlackEnergy 3, wrote John Hultquist, director of cyberespionage analysis at iSight Partners.

Another security company, Eset, wrote in a post last week that samples of BlackEnergy have carried the KillDisk component, which overwrites or deletes files.

Ukraine's CERT wrote in November that media in the country had been targeted by BlackEnergy around the time local elections were held.

iSight Partners first described Sandworm in October 2014, and since then several other security vendors have written about its activities.

The group has targeted NATO, western and Ukrainian government organizations and energy companies, according to an iSight document published by the Washington Post.

The latest attack, which occurred on Dec. 23 at a facility run by the service provider Prykarpattyaoblenergo, cut power to 80,000 customers for six hours, according to Reuters, which cited a report from a U.S. energy industry security group.

The attack has raised widespread concern as security experts have warned for years of the vulnerability of industrial control systems used by the energy industry.

"A cyberattack of this nature is a milestone – although a predictable one," Hultquist wrote. "The aggressive nature of Sandworm team’s previous activity in Europe and the United States exposed their interest in targeting critical systems and indicated preparation for cyber attack."

Tension have remained high between the Ukraine and Russia since the latter forcibly annexed Crimea in 2014.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?