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US Cracks Down On Russian Research Institute For Computer Attack

US officials have imposed sanctions on a Russian government-backed research institute that developed a computer system able to cause massive industrial damage from afar.

Treasury officials contend the Central Scientific Research Institute of Chemistry and Mechanics institute — also known by its Russian acronym, TsNIIKhM — built “customized tools that enabled the attack” on an unidentified Middle Eastern petrochemical facility in 2017, Reuters reported Saturday.

Researchers disclosed the attack in the same year, alarming experts. Unlike hacking or holding data for ransom, the attack appeared to disable the plant’s safety system, the outlet reported.

Those responsible for the malware checked out at least 20 electric utilities in the US for potential vulnerabilities, Treasury officials said.

Russia accused the Treasury officials of lying and criticized the sanctions.

“We emphasize once again the illegitimacy of any one-sided restrictions,” Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s ambassador to the US, said on social media. “Russia, unlike the United States, does not conduct offensive operations in cyber domain.”

Source: Nypost

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