At first, the Washington Post ran with a sensationalist headline about how Russian hackers had penetrated the U.S. power grid.
Then, it was revealed that nothing had been penetrated – that there was malware found on a Vermont utility company employee’s laptop. And the laptop wasn’t connected to the grid.
Now, it’s being reported that the malware was a very common malware, and it wasn’t even necessarily associated with anyone from Russia.
I’m surprised Snopes hasn’t weighed in to issue their verdict as to the veracity of the story – particularly how it was initially reported. By the mainstream media’s definition, this was pure fake news. But I guess since Snopes and the Post are on the same team, there’s no need to fact check them. Here’s what the Post is now reporting:
U.S. officials are continuing to investigate the laptop. In the course of their investigation, though, they have found on the device a package of software tools commonly used by online criminals to deliver malware. The package, known as Neutrino, does not appear to be connected with Grizzly Steppe, which U.S. officials have identified as the Russian hacking operation. The FBI, which declined to comment, is continuing to investigate how the malware got onto the laptop.
Initially, company officials publicly said they had detected code that had been linked by the Department of Homeland Security to Grizzly Steppe.
Over the weekend, the company issued a statement, saying only that it had “detected suspicious Internet traffic” on the computer in question.
Experts also said that because Yahoo’s mail servers are visited by millions of people each day, the fact that a Burlington Electric employee checking email touched off an alert is not an indication that the Russian government was targeting the utility.
So, they’ve gone from telling their readers that the Russians had penetrated the nation’s power grid, to saying that there was malware on someone’s laptop, and that it’s probably nothing.
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