Not too long ago, we discussed the danger of leaving critical infrastructure control systems connected to the public Internet. Albeit no immediate threat will affect residents, there is a new form of malware targeting energy networks. The cat-and-mouse game between security experts and internet criminals is afoot; that much is certain.
Deep Web Malware Offering Targets Energy Networks
A recent study by German researchers showed the world how there are several dozen critical infrastructure control systems hooked up to the Public Internet. In most cases, there is no need to have these systems accessible to everyone in the world. However, this has spurred some ideas among internet criminals, as they continue to develop new forms of malware.
SentinelOne researchers came across a new offering on the deep web which targets energy networks specifically. Furtim, as this malware is called, will infect computers and create a backdoor to execute future attacks. Particularly European energy companies relying on the Windows operating system will be vulnerable to this new tool.
Although this new malware was released back in May of 2016, it is still a severe threat to this very day. It is possible this is a state-sponsored malware initiative, albeit that has not been confirmed just yet. One thing is certain; Furtim is a very sophisticated tool and not something that was cobbled together in a few hours of spare time.
Similar to most other types of malware in the world, Furtim will avoid conventional antivirus products. In fact, the hacking tool managed to bypass sandboxes and virtual machine environments as well. If possible, it will attempt to remove any installed antivirus software, before dropping its final payload.
If Furtim were to be used successfully, it could bring down entire power grids. At this time, it is anybody’s guess ass to why this tool is deliberately targeting European energy plants. While the energy grid is susceptible to cyber attacks, it remains to be seen when and if any attacks using this malware will take place.
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