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Senators question whether Dragonfly hacks hit Maryland power companies

Responding to reports of an effort to hack into U.S. power companies, Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen are asking the Department of Homeland Security whether any firms in Maryland were hit.

In a letter to acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, the two Democrats said they are concerned about a report from a cyber security company this month that found dozens of power companies were compromised by a group called Dragonfly.

“We are requesting that you provide information about any Maryland companies that may have been attacked and information on what the Department of Homeland Security is doing to assist these companies,” the two wrote in a letter Monday. “Reports of Russian cyber-attacks by groups like Dragonfly are disturbing and represent potentially grave threats to the United States’ security.”

California-based Symantec wrote earlier this month that the energy sector in the United States and Europe was being targeted by a new wave of attacks that could provide hackers with “the means to severely disrupt affected operations.” Power companies in Ukraine were hit by cyber attacks in 2015 and 2016 that caused widespread blackouts.

“We appreciate any information you can provide about Maryland companies that may have been subject to such attacks,” the lawmakers wrote. “Furthermore, we would appreciate information on what the Department of Homeland Security is doing to assist companies in resisting and responding to such attacks.”

A Department of Homeland Security spokesperson said the department does not comment on correspondence with the secretary.

john.fritze@baltsun.com

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