The cyber security company Fire Eye has mentioned in a new report to private clients which was exclusively obtained by NBC News that hackers linked to North Korea have recently targeted the power companies of the United States with some phishing emails. The emails used some fake invitations to a fund raiser program to the targeted victims. This is per the reports given by Fire Eye. One of the victims who had downloaded the invitation that was attached to the email had also downloaded malware into the computer at the same time of downloading the invitation. The company did not raise any questions about the characterization of the report by NBC but it declined to make any comment on the same as well. There is still no evidence that the attempted cyberattack was successful but per the assessment by Fire Eye this targeting of the electric companies of the United States could have a direct relation to the increasing tensions between North Korea and the US that is potentially foreshadowing a disruptive cyberattack.
C. Frank Figliuzzi who is a former chief of counterintelligence at the FBI said that this is a signal that North Korea is a player in the field of cyber intrusion and is rapidly growing in its abilities to hurt the US. The report from Fire Eye comes on the heels of a report from NBC News in the month of August that intelligence officials of the United States are very worried that North Korea will lash out against the enhanced pressure of the US with the use of its fearsome cyber capabilities to attack the infrastructure of the United States. Dmitri Alperovitch who is the co-founder of Crowd strike, a cybersecurity firm had told NBC News in August that they have been worried for some time that one of the ways by which North Korea can make an attack in retaliation against further escalation of tensions through a cyberattack and the attacks are to be made particularly in the financial sector. He also mentioned that this is something North Korea has really perfected as an art against South Korea.
Scott Aaronson, who is one of the top security officials at the Edison Electric Institute which is an industry trade group, stated that these phishing attacks are something that electric companies are always ready for. This is because they have to deal with these things on a regular basis and generally in coordination with security experts and industry stakeholders. In this situation, the delivery of reliable and safe energy has not been affected in any way. Moreover, there has been no operational impact to facilities or to any of the systems that are controlling the energy grid of North America.