American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2022 - 88

identity theft and causing damage to the
property of an energy facility.
According to DOJ, the FSB hackers,
Pavel Aleksandrovich Akulov, 36, Mikhail
Mikhailovich Gavrilov, 42, and Marat
Valeryevich Tyukov, 39, were members
of a Center 16 operational unit known
among cybersecurity researchers as " Dragonfly, "
" Berzerk Bear, " " Energetic Bear "
and " Crouching Yeti. " The indictment
alleges that, between 2012 and 2017,
Akulov, Gavrilov, Tyukov and their coconspirators,
engaged in computer intrusions,
including supply chain attacks,
in furtherance of the Russian government's
efforts to maintain surreptitious, unauthorized
and persistent access to the computer
networks of companies and organizations
in the international energy sector,
including oil and gas firms, nuclear power
plants and utility and power transmission
companies. Specifically, the conspirators
targeted the software and hardware that
controls equipment in power generation
facilities, known as ICS or Supervisory
Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA)
systems. Access to such systems would
have provided the Russian government
the ability to, among other things, disrupt
and damage such computer systems at a
future time of its choosing.
According to the indictment, the energy
sector campaign involved two phases. In
the first phase, which took place between
2012 and 2014 and is commonly referred
to by cybersecurity researchers as " Dragonfly "
or " Havex, " the conspirators engaged
in a supply chain attack, compromising
the computer networks of ICS/SCADA
system manufacturers and software
providers and then hiding malware-known
publicly as " Havex " -inside legitimate
software updates for such systems.
After unsuspecting customers downloaded
Havex-infected updates, the conspirators
would use the malware to, among
other things, create backdoors into infected
systems and scan victims' networks for
additional ICS/SCADA devices. Through
these and other efforts, including
spearphishing and " watering hole " attacks,
the conspirators installed malware on
more than 17,000 unique devices in the
United States and abroad, including
ICS/SCADA controllers used by power
and energy companies.In the second
phase, which took place between 2014
and 2017 and is commonly referred to as
" Dragonfly 2.0, " the conspirators transitioned
to more targeted compromises that
focused on specific energy sector entities
and individuals and engineers who worked
with ICS/SCADA systems.
As alleged in the indictment, the conspirators'
tactics included spearphishing
attacks targeting more than 3,300 users
at more than 500 U.S. and international
companies and entities, in addition to
U.S. government agencies such as the
Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In some
cases, the spearphishing attacks were successful,
including in the compromise of
the business network (i.e., involving computers
not directly connected to ICS/SCADA
equipment) of the Wolf Creek Nuclear
Operating Corporation in Burlington, Ks.,
which operates a nuclear power plant.
Moreover, after establishing an illegal
foothold in a particular network, the conspirators
typically used that foothold to
penetrate further into the network by obtaining
access to other computers and
networks at the victim entity.
During the Dragonfly 2.0 phase, DOJ
says, the conspirators also undertook a
watering hole attack by compromising
servers that hosted websites commonly
visited by ICS/SCADA system and other
energy sector engineers through publicly
known vulnerabilities in content management
software. When the engineers
browsed to a compromised website, the
conspirators' hidden scripts deployed
malware designed to capture login credentials
onto their computers.
The conspiracy's hacking campaign
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American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2022

Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2022 - Intro
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2022 - Cover1
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2022 - Cover2
American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2022 - Contents
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American Oil and Gas Reporter - April 2022 - Cover3
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