Washington has expressed its deep concerns regarding Russia's growing cyberwarfare capabilities, qualifying the country as one of the most sophisticated nation-state actors in cyberspace, noted Franz-Stefan Gady, an expert in military affairs and cyber diplomacy.
"While I can't go into detail here, the Russian cyber threat is more severe than we had previously assessed," James Clapper, the Director of US National Intelligence, warned at the 2015 presentation of the "Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community," as quoted by the expert.
Citing the American officials, the expert noted that the latest cyberattack could be carried out by the same group of purportedly Russian hackers, who broke into the US State Department computer network last year.
According to the report "Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community," Russia's Ministry of Defense has established its own cyber command and a specialized branch for computer network operations.
"Computer security studies assert that unspecified Russian cyber actors are developing means to access industrial control systems (ICS) remotely. These systems manage critical infrastructures such as electronic power grids, urban mass-transit systems, air-traffic control, and oil and gas distribution networks," the report stated.
The American intelligence officials claim that Russia has already toppled China, the most prominent global cyber actor.
However, the Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab has recently revealed that the United States could have been behind sophisticated cyberattacks by state-sponsored hackers, dubbed the Equation group.
According to Kaspersky Lab, the Equation group is currently the most advanced cyber threat the world has ever seen.
In recent years, a pattern of name-calling and finger-pointing has become the modus operandi of state and non-state actors in cyberspace, Franz-Stefan Gady remarked.