The United States Cyber Command, a government intelligence organization, is increasing its efforts to implement malicious computer code meant to debilitate Russia’s electric power grid.
The commander of Cyber Command, General Paul M. Nakasone, has realigned cyber warfare strategy to the offensive, ensuring that the U.S. is able to carry out damaging cyber strikes should Russia provoke a conflict, according to an article from The New York Times.
“It has gotten far, far more aggressive over the past year. We are doing things at a scale that we never contemplated a few years ago,” said a senior intelligence official speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Cyber Command was started by President Barack Obama after the Russian Government successfully infiltrated the Pentagon’s classified communications networks in 2008. Continued Russian interference slowly shifted Cyber Command’s original operational intent to mainly conduct surveillance on Russia’s networks.
“We don’t do them that often. I can count on one hand, literally, the number of offensive operations that we did at the Department of Defense,” said Eric Rosenbach, a former chief of staff to the defense secretary.
Although few details have been released regarding the state of current efforts to potentially debilitate Russia’s power grid, Nakasone has spoken publicly about past operations against Russia’s networks. Nakasone has spoken about a series of four operations called the “Russia Small Group” that was aimed at interfering with Russia’s Internet Research Agency during the U.S.’ midterm elections.
A new military authorization bill has categorized cyber actions within the purview of the military, now giving Nakasone more freedom extending his operations into Russia’s power grid with less oversight.