By Ian Sloan 3/16/2018
The Trump administration has accused the Russian Government of an elaborate plot to penetrate America’s electric grid, factories, water supply and even air travel, through cyber hacking. The FBI, Department of Homeland Security and several intelligence agencies determined Russian intelligence and others were behind a broad range of cyberattacks starting a year ago.
Altogether, 19 Russians were cited in the cyberattacks. Also sanctioned were five Russian companies, including the Internet Research Agency, which is accused of orchestrating a mass online disinformation campaign to affect the U.S. presidential election result. Russian hackers infiltrated the networks that run the basic services Americans rely on every day, including water and manufacturing facilities like factories.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin accused the Russians of “destructive cyber-attacks, and intrusions targeting critical infrastructure.” The sanctions prompted a swift threat of retaliation from Russia’s government, which said a response was already being prepared. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov suggested the Trump administration had timed the action to taint this weekend’s presidential election in Russia, in which President Vladimir Putin is expected to win an overwhelming victory. Secretary Mnuchin did not specify when these penalties would be imposed, but stated they would sever the individuals’ access to the US financial system.