Updated Mar 16, 2018

Sanctions announcement reveals hacks of U.S. critical infrastructure

The Turkey Point nuclear reactor in Homestead, Florida. Photo: Rhona Wise / AFP via Getty Images

One genuine piece of news behind the U.S. sanctions against Russian individuals and organizations is the attribution to Russia of a cyberhacking campaign that has targeted critical U.S. infrastructure.

The details: Per the Treasury Department’s statement, “Since at least March 2016, Russian government cyber actors have also targeted … the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation and critical manufacturing sectors.”

The Department of Homeland Security has previously reported on cyber intrusions into critical infrastructure but has only identified an “Advanced Persistent Threat” without pointing the finger at a suspected culprit. In a move surely coordinated with Treasury’s announcement, the DHS updated its alert to note the Russian attribution and describe a “multi-stage campaign” into energy sector networks that included collection of “information pertaining to Industrial Control Systems.”

Why it matters: This attribution reinforces the need to secure critical infrastructure and continues a series of actions that have picked up steam since Homeland Security Advisor Tom Bossert told an audience last June that the U.S. government would “call out bad behavior and impose costs on our adversaries.” These include removal of Kaspersky from U.S. government systems, special counsel indictments, naming-and-shaming of Russia for the NotPetya attacks and this week’s sanctions and attribution.

What's next: These moves aren’t yet enough to stop Russia’s bad behavior. But it’s hard to imagine matters ending here.

Kate Charlet is director of the Technology and International Affairs Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a former acting deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy.

Go deeper

Updated 24 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 6,889,889 — Total deaths: 399,642 — Total recoveries — 3,085,326Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 1,920,061 — Total deaths: 109,802 — Total recoveries: 500,849 — Total tested: 19,778,873Map.
  3. Public health: Why the pandemic is hitting minorities harder — Coronavirus curve rises in FloridaHow racism threatens the response to the pandemic Some people are drinking and inhaling cleaning products in attempt to fight the virus.
  4. Tech: The pandemic is accelerating next-generation disease diagnostics — Robotics looks to copy software-as-a-service model.
  5. Business: Budgets busted by coronavirus make it harder for cities to address inequality Sports, film production in California to resume June 12 after 3-month hiatus.
  6. Education: Students and teachers flunked remote learning.

George Floyd updates

Protesters in Washington, D.C. on June 6. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Tens of thousands of demonstrators are rallying in cities across the U.S. and around the world to protest the killing of George Floyd. Huge crowds have assembled in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Chicago for full-day events.

Why it matters: Twelve days of nationwide protest in the U.S. has built pressure for states to make changes on what kind of force law enforcement can use on civilians and prompted officials to review police conduct. A memorial service was held for Floyd in Raeford, North Carolina, near where he was born. Gov. Roy Cooper ordered all flags to fly at half-staff to honor him until sunset.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

In photos: People around the world rally against racism

Despite a ban on large gatherings implemented in response to the coronavirus pandemic, protesters rally against racism in front of the American Embassy in Paris on June 6. Photo: Julien Mattia/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Tens of thousands of people have continued to rally in cities across the world against racism and show their support this week for U.S. demonstrators protesting the death in police custody of George Floyd.

Why it matters: The tense situation in the U.S. has brought the discussion of racism and discrimination onto the global stage at a time when most of the world is consumed by the novel coronavirus.