As Western democracies ramp up their rhetoric against Russia, White House officials said Thursday that Russia has hacked or at least targeted U.S. infrastructure, including aviation systems. The Washington Post reported Thursday that these new hacking claims are the strongest condemnation yet of claimed Russian attempts to erode Western values and technical infrastructure.
Without being specific, officials in the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and intelligence agencies said Russia broke into computer systems and conducted “network reconnaissance” of critical control elements, then attempted to cover their tracks by deleting evidence of the hacking.
The DHS said the Russian effort was part of a “multi-stage intrusion” to hack U.S. cyber resources across a range of economic sectors, including industrial and government infrastructure. Although it’s not known how vulnerable it is, the U.S. air traffic system depends on multiple data systems of variable vintage. Earlier this year, The Associated Press reported that Russians targeted major U.S. aerospace companies including Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon by penetrating email networks used by employees through phishing schemes.