The documents do not specify which pipeline was breached, and Canadian operators have not confirmed any significant hacking incidents.
A group of hacktivists linked to the Russian government allegedly claimed to have breached the networks of a Canadian gas pipeline, according to a recent article in the New York Times.
Citing leaked Pentagon documents, the outlet claims the classified documents contained an exchange between unspecified Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) agents and a cybercriminal group called “Zarya.”
In their communications with the FSB, the hackers reportedly shared screenshots in February showing they had the ability to increase valve pressure, deactivate alarms and perform emergency shutdowns of a station unspecified gas distribution in Canada.
According to the documents, the FSB agents anticipated that “a successful operation would cause an explosion at the gas distribution station” and were “monitoring Canadian news reports for indications of an explosion.”
The New York Times reports that it has not been able to independently verify any of this information, while the Communications Security Establishment Canada, which is responsible for Canada’s foreign intelligence collection and cybersecurity , declined to comment on specific incidents.
CBC News and the Canadian Press of Canada were also unable to verify the claims, but noted that two pipeline operators – TC Energy and Enbridge – said their infrastructure had not been compromised by any attempt to piracy.
The White House, National Security Council and Department of Homeland Security all declined to comment on the pipeline allegations, while National Security Council spokesman John Kirby suggested on Monday that some of the documents from the leaked slice “have been doctored.”
The batch of sensitive documents appeared online in late February and early March on the Discord chat platform, but the first reports of the leaks only emerged last week.
Western media have reported that the Biden administration is currently in crisis mode and that the Pentagon has launched an internal investigation into the leak, which it says is problematic “Very serious risk” in Washington.
However, a number of officials, including from countries allied with the United States, questioned the authenticity of the leak, pointing out a number of inconsistencies and factual inaccuracies. Ukraine, which is widely quoted in the newspapers, even suggested the leak was a Russian ploy to derail kyiv’s planned spring counteroffensive.
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