Russian hackers have been scanning networks of US energy firms, posing a “very real” threat to the national security of the United States, a top FBI official warned on Tuesday.
Bryan Vorndran, an assistant director in the FBI's cyber division, considers Russia’s state-sponsored hacking to be a serious threat.
"The threat from Russia in a criminal sense, in the nation state sense, is very, very real - and current," Vorndran said during a hearing before a U.S. House of Representatives panel, Reuters reports.
Vorndran disclosed the increase in “scanning activity,” with Russian hackers scanning the networks of the US energy firms to learn more about existing vulnerabilities and protections in place.
He also suggested that Russia is “one of the two most capable cyberadversaries we face globally” and a “fomiddable foe.”
Earlier this week, the White House proposed its $5.8 trillion budget plan for 2023, seeking $10.9 billion for civilian cybersecurity funding following continuous warnings of potential cyberattacks from Russia.
During the Geneva summit, Biden told Putin that certain critical infrastructure should be "off-limits" to cyberattacks, focusing on 'destructive' hacks aimed at 16 types of infrastructure.
However, Vorndran commented that hacks against critical sectors – after all – did take place.
"There are compromises against some of those 16 critical infrastructure sectors," he said. "I can't speak specifically to which ones."