Russia’s new cyber weapon turns up the heat on US efforts

Reports that the Russians have an advanced new cyber weapon designed to penetrate and cripple opponents’ electrical grids, and perhaps other critical infrastructure, have struck a Cold War note with lawmakers. Yet, it was greeted as old news by cyber professionals.

The weapon was used in December to temporarily bring down portions of the electrical grid in Ukraine, according to an analysis by security firm Dragos that was first reported in the Washington Post.

Members of the Senate Armed Services Committee quizzed Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on the weapon at a hearing last week, and sources said the House and Senate homeland security and intelligence panels are taking a close look.

The vulnerability of the electric sector has been frequently cited by military leaders as a potential Achilles’ heel for U.S. armed forces, which rely on local power companies at almost all of their domestic bases. And a sustained blackout

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