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U.S. says Russia's cyber war targeted the grid

Power lines.
Electrical pylons and high tension wires in California. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

U.S. officials on Thursday accused Russia of a wide-ranging campaign of cyberattacks that targeted energy infrastructure, citing a "multi-stage intrusion campaign by Russian government cyber actors."

Why it matters: Reuters notes that it's the "first time the United States has publicly accused Moscow of hacking into American energy infrastructure."

"Since at least March 2016, Russian government cyber actors...targeted government entities and multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, including the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors,"
the FBI and Department of Homeland Security said in a joint statement.

Threat level: "United States officials and private security firms saw the attacks as a signal by Moscow that it could disrupt the West’s critical facilities in the event of a conflict," the New York Times reports.

The context: The information came alongside a Treasury Department announcement of sanctions against 5 entities and 19 individuals in Russia over meddling during the 2016 U.S. election — as well as for destructive cyberattacks, including the NotPetya malware attack.