US escalates cyber-attacks against Russia's electrical grid

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US is stepping up digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid, New York Times reports. By infecting Russia’s energy facilities, US Cyber Command would potentially be able to turn them off, causing power cuts and havoc. While officials, including at the National Security Council, declined to comment, they said they had no national security concerns about the New York Times report. John Bolton, National Security Adviser to President Trump, has confirmed that the US is engaged in offensive cyber operations against broad list of potential targets, with a purpose “to say to Russia, or anybody else that’s engaged in cyberoperations against us, ‘You will pay a price.’” The development follows strengthened authorities of Cyber Command to conduct offensive cyber operations, and the “defend forward” approach taken by its commander Gen. Paul Nakasone to establish “persistent presence” deep in an adversary’s networks. The move is seen by some experts as a deterrence tactics, or the ‘gunboat diplomacy’ of the twenty-first century - though consequences of potential escalations could be more devastating, ZDnet comments.

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