American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2018 - 105

government cyberactors conducted network reconnaissance, moved laterally,
and collected information pertaining to
industrial control systems."
According to the DHS and FBI report,
a hacker group known as Dragonfly often
sought to access larger entities and companies by compromising the systems of
less-protected third-party suppliers and
smaller companies. Gaining entry to a
smaller company's system could provide
hackers a staging ground from which to
infiltrate larger companies. The agencies
say techniques for gaining access to a
system included spear-phishing e-mails
with attached documents that appeared
to be job applicant resumes.
"The threat actors appear to have deliberately chosen the organizations they
targeted, rather than pursuing them as
targets of opportunity," the alert says.
"Staging targets held pre-existing relationships with many of the intended
targets. DHS analysis identified the threat
actors accessing publicly available information hosted by organization-monitored
networks during the reconnaissance phase."
Many published reports emphasize system breaches relating to electric power,
water and other utilities, but the Houston
Chronicle points out that analysts consider

Houston's collection of oil and gas producers, pipelines, refineries and petrochemical facilities an attractive target for
such attacks. "With Houston being the
energy capital of the world, if you want to
disrupt operations in the United States,
this would be the place to attack," it quotes
Steve Mustard, cybersecurity committee
chair of the Automation Federation.
The Chronicle piece says U.S. authorities place the responsibility-which
tends to be difficult to verify-for the cyberattacks on the Russian government,
which suggests unusually strong evidence.
Although the report on the Dragonfly
campaign focuses on cyberbreaches since
early 2016, it adds, U.S. energy companies
reported more than 350 cybersecurity incidents between 2011 and 2015.
Anti-Fracturing Activism
The March congressional staff report
points out that Russian attempts to influence U.S. and European energy policy
are well-documented, and include acknowledgements by U.S. senators, presidential candidates, European officials and
members of the intelligence community.
Among those, it mentions the January
2017 report by the Office of the Director
of National Intelligence that contained

"clear evidence that the Kremlin is financing and choreographing anti-fracturing
propaganda in the United States." It notes
that another congressional staff report,
Putin's Asymmetric Assault on Democracy
in Russia and Europe: Implications for
U.S. National Security, written under the
supervision of Senator Ben Cardin, DMd., by the U.S. Senate Staff for the
Committee on Foreign Relations, indicates
the Russian government quietly has provided $95 million in funding to nongovernmental organizations that seek to
block European governments from allowing shale gas exploration.
Acknowledgement that covert Russian
funding of anti-fracturing activism extends
to U.S. shores has been acknowledged by
former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. The Committee on Science, Space
and Technology report notes she is quoted
in media reports in a 2014 private speech
that the State Department was "up against
phony environmental groups, and I'm a
big environmentalist, but these were funded
by the Russians to stand against any effort,
'Oh that pipeline, that fraccing, that whatever, will be a problem for you,' and a lot
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American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2018

Contents
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