South Africa


Eight things you need to know about US’s claims of Russian cyberattack on SA

Eight things you need to know about US’s claims of Russian cyberattack on SA
(Photo: Chris Ratcliffe / Bloomberg)

The US claims three Russians with links to that government targeted at least 135 countries, including South Africa, in a hacking campaign.

The United States says government-linked Russian hackers have targeted the world’s energy sector, including in South Africa. This comes as news emerged that Russia is considering getting involved in a major South African contract relating to this very sector and as the Russia-Ukraine conflict evolves. Here are eight things you need to know to understand the story by Daily Maverick’s Caryn Dolley.

US claims South Africa targeted in Russia’s global hack attack campaigns

  1. The US claims three Russians with links to the Russian government targeted at least 135 countries, including South Africa, in a hacking campaign.
  2. According to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the global hacking campaign allegedly had the potential to “disrupt and damage” systems relating to energy sectors, including nuclear power plants.
  3. The hacking activities allegedly occurred from July 2012 to November 2017.
  4. The FBI has linked three suspects – Pavel Aleksandrovich Akulov, Mikhail Mikhailovich Gavrilov and Marat Valeryevich Tyukov – to operations it says were targeting countries including South Africa.
  5. According to the US, Akulov, Gavrilov and Tyukov were members of “a discreet operation unit” working deep within a law enforcement agency called the Federal Security Service headquartered in Moscow.
  6. The indictment against the three suspects indicates their alleged goals were “to establish and maintain surreptitious, unauthorised access to networks, computers, and devices of companies and other entities in the energy sector”. This “enabled the Russian government to disrupt and damage such systems, if it wished”.
  7. South Africa’s state-owned electricity utility Eskom says it combats regular cyberattack attempts, but would not be drawn on this specific campaign.
  8. The news of the alleged Russian cyberattack on South Africa comes after energy-related deals between the two countries have come under scrutiny, and while South Africa’s government has taken a neutral stance on the Russia-Ukraine conflict. DM

Comments - Please in order to comment.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.8% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.2% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.2% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.2%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options