Russian Hackers Probing Texas’ Infrastructure in Astounding Cyber Threats
Messing with the Texas power grid is one thing that will make Texans cringe since the failure of the grid in the winter storm of 2021.
According to the Texas Tribune, Russian hackers have been searching for weaknesses in the Texas infrastructure to steal sensitive information or even disrupt operations of everything from the power grid to oil companies.
"We are on super high alert," said Thad Hill, CEO of Texas power giant Calpine. He also says he has been intensely monitoring Russia's cyber activity.
The White House warned that they have "evolving intelligence that the Russian government is exploring options for potential cyberattacks."
The worst-case scenarios for Texas include shutting down power for millions of Texans, halting oil and gas shipments to ports, and breaking refineries networks so they can't make gasoline.
Energy companies say it is not weird to detect hackers surveying for weak points. Still, since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 24, the number of probes on the state's infrastructure has increased significantly.
"Texas has some key export facilities for liquid natural gas - at a national security level, there are a couple of sites that we all freak out about," said Robert M. Lee, founder, and CEO of the industrial cybersecurity firm Dragos. "If you took down one site, you don't get fuel exports out to certain countries."
The Port of Corpus Christi is one target since it is the third-largest seaport in the country and the nation's second-largest exporter of natural gas. To put pressure on Russia, exports of natural gas from the U.S. to help wean Europe off of Russian gas are increasing, putting a massive target on the port for cyberattacks.
Closer to home, the Medical Center Hospital System in Odessa saw a hacking attempt back in February, putting local officials on edge.