Ukraine says Russian hackers tried and failed to attack an energy provider

ESET and Microsoft helped fend off the cyberattack.

Anton Petrus via Getty Images

Ukraine says Russian military hackers attempted to disrupt an energy provider in the country, but they were unsuccessful. The Computer Emergency Response Team of Ukraine (CERT-UA) claims it was able to thwart an effort to gain access to computers linked to substations and wipe all files on them. That would have shut down the unnamed provider's infrastructure. The company in question is said to provide power to customers in a highly populated area.

Russia has been blamed for previous cyberattacks on Ukraine's power infrastructure, but it hasn't successfully conducted similar hacks since it invaded the country in February. In 2014 and 2015, some residents of the capital city Kyiv lost power in the wake of attacks attributed to Sandworm, a purported wing of Russia's GRU military intelligence agency.

Cybersecurity company ESET, which has been helping shore up Ukraine's defenses, said Sandworm was behind the latest attempt as well. Sandworm is said to have used a new version of the Industroyer malware it employed to shut down Ukraine's power grid in late 2015.

The latest attempted attack had been in the works for at least two weeks, according to ESET. Microsoft also helped ESET and Ukraine fend off the hackers, according to Viktor Zhora, a cybersecurity official in the country. According to CNBC, Zhora said the attackers did gain access to some systems and created disruption at one power facility, but they were snuffed out before any residents lost electricity.

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