FBI warns of Russian cyber attacks on systems for 2022 midterm elections, critical infrastructure in US

CHICAGO (WLS) – A new FBI bulletin warns that cybercriminals are targeting the US election infrastructure and are likely to “continue or increase” their activities in the run-up to the 2022 midterm elections.

It comes as a senior FBI official warned a congressional committee that Russian “scanning” in efforts to gain access to government computer systems has increased over the past month.

RELATED | The Russian invasion of Ukraine underscores Illinois’ preparations for a digital battlefield

Even as the Russian military continues its airstrikes on Ukraine, state-backed Russian cybercriminals in Moscow are fighting another much more distant war — trying to attack sensitive US computer networks, according to FBI officials.

During a House Judiciary Committee hearing today, FBI Assistant Director of the Cyber ​​Division Bryan Vorndran described the criminal threat from Russia as real and timely.

“Cyberspace is where nation states go to learn the secrets of our country,” Vorndran said.

Threat actors are targeting state voting computers, according to a new FBI bulletin. According to the FBI, nine unnamed states have been attacked since October last year.

They say the cyber attackers used a technique similar to that used in the 2016 Illinois state electoral roll break-in, when the Russians hacked into state election officials‘ computers there.

“What we are seeing is that cybercriminals are really taking advantage of targets of opportunity. We’re seeing these criminals looking for opportunity rather than precision strikes against a specific unit or sector,” Vorndran said.

As the I-Team first reported in February, special military units in Springfield are already accelerating training for a digital war on the cyber battlefield.

“You want to keep the adversaries out and you want to protect your data, protect your ability to communicate with your staff. And, and this is the defensive part. And the offensive part is you want to take advantage of your opponent’s weaknesses,” said Illinois National Guard Col. Shawn Strahle.

According to the FBI, the other targets for Russian hackers are energy computers and networks that control critical infrastructure such as the US power grid. Vorndran testified Tuesday that Russian state officials have also stepped up their recon scans of these computers over the past month.

Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All rights reserved.

Comments are closed.