Russia warns of ‘cyberwar’ in wake of reported attacks from US

18 Jun 2019

Image: © Maria Sbytova/

Russia, responding to a report about increasingly aggressive digital incursions from the US, has warned of the possibility of a fully blown ‘cyberwar’.

The Kremlin has warned the US that escalating attacks on its power grid could lead to an all-out ‘cyberwar’.

The statement comes after The New York Times reported that the US was ramping up its digital incursions on Russia as a warning to president Vladimir Putin. Current and former US government officials claimed in interviews that the US had been deploying American computer code into Russia’s grid.

Those in favour of the more aggressive approach claim that the alleged actions were warranted, citing previous warnings by US Homeland Security and the FBI that Russia had installed its own malware, which could potentially sabotage power plants, water pipelines and more during a future conflict.

It is believed that some of the actions the US has allegedly taken were conducted without US president Donald Trump’s knowledge, with the legal authority to do so granted by the military authorisation bill that became public law last year.

Some analysts have cast aspersions on the reporting, and Trump himself has previously dismissed allegations that these kinds of increased cyber retaliations had taken place.

Yet the report has still managed to garner Moscow’s attention, enough so that it responded in a post published to TASS, the Russian government-owned news agency.

“If one assumes that some government agencies do this without informing the head of state, then of course this may indicate that cyberwar against Russia might be a hypothetical possibility,” said Dmitry Peskov, Russian spokesperson for the president.

Researchers with the security firm Dragos said last week that hackers behind two attacks on industrial facilities have been probing US power grids, Ars Technica reports.

The group, dubbed Xenotime, previously attracted international media attention when researchers from both Dragos and security firm FireEye said the group had triggered a dangerous operational outage at a critical-infrastructure site in the Middle East.

The group’s recent networks scans and reconnaissance on around 20 utilities in the US have inspired concerns over their actions yet again. Though their origin remains unclear, security experts have previously said that some of the malware they use, Triton, was developed in Moscow.

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic