Cyber experts react to Russian hack on power company

Russian hackers appear to have placed malicious software — or malware — on at least one computer at Burlington Electric, a power company in Burlington, Vermont.

On Friday, the utility said in a statement that it “detected the malware in a single Burlington Electric Department laptop not connected to our organization’s grid systems. We took immediate action to isolate the laptop and alerted federal officials of this finding.”

Cyber experts across the U.S. have long cited concerns about utility companies, saying that hackers could make a damaging attack on a power grid. The concerns have grown deeper amid claims by the Obama administrations that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee, and the Clinton campaign, in an effort to influence the 2016 presidential election. Such hacks have shown general vulnerability to attacks.

Here is what analysts are saying about the Russian malware that showed up on the Burlington Electric computer:

HERB LIN, cyber expert, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

“If this is the same computer code that was used against the DNC, it could be sort of run-of-the-mill penetration code that would enable an attacker to take over a computer and steal information. It basically enables a hacker to be a legitimate user. 

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