This is nearly unprecedented and scary. We don’t mean to be alarmist, but when we see these types of warnings we are obligated to share the news. Flashing across our screens today was the news that the U.S government issued a rare public warning about hacking campaigns targeting energy and industrial firms.

This is the latest evidence that cyber attacks present an increasing threat to the power industry and other public infrastructure. How did we learn of this? Well, the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation warned in a report distributed via email late on Friday that the nuclear, energy, aviation, water and critical manufacturing industries have been targeted along with government entities in attacks dating back to at least May.

Basically, the agencies warned that hackers had succeeded in compromising some targeted networks, but did not identify specific victims or describe any cases of sabotage. Why? Well, the attackers’ goal is to compromise organizational networks with malicious emails and tainted websites to obtain credentials for accessing computer networks of their targets, the report said.

Robert Lee, an expert in securing industrial networks, said the report describes activities from two or three groups that have stolen user credentials and spied on organizations in the United States and other nations, but not launched destructive attacks.

The report said that hackers have succeeded in infiltrating some targets, including at least one energy generator, and conducting reconnaissance on their networks. It was accompanied by six technical documents describing malware used in the attacks.

Homeland Security “has confidence that this campaign is still ongoing and threat actors are actively pursuing their objectives over a long-term campaign,” the report said.

This government warning comes amid hackers going after Microsoft (MSFT) and Equifax (EFX) and targeting Apple (AAPL).

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