The Washington Post has been forced to issue an apology over a story that it recently published in which it was alleged that Russian hackers had successfully hacked into the power grid system of Burlington Electric, a power company that operates in Vermont.
In a statement, the editorial team of the paper said that the earlier version of the story that it had run had been inaccurate by pointing out that Russian hackers had been involved in the suspected hacking of the Burlington Electric’s network.
In the original story, the paper had run a headline saying,
Russian operation hacked a Vermont Utility.
The headline also said that the alleged hacking of the Vermont utility by Russian hackers posted a danger to the security of the US electrical grid.
The basis of the story, according to the paper, was a revelation by some officials of Burlington Electric that a suspicious code had been found on one of the laptops of the company. Armed with this information, Washington Post then went ahead and cited unnamed officials of the company as having said that the laptop on which the malicious code was found was connected to the Burlington Electric’s network.
However, it appears that the information upon which the original Washington Post story was based were inaccurate.
— Very Savvy People™ (@TheXclass) January 1, 2017
In a statement, Burlington Electric has said,
We detected malicious traffic on a laptop belonging to one of our departments, but the laptop is not connected to the grid system.
In the recent past, Washington Post has repeatedly been forced to issue apologies and retract several of the stories that it has run. Immediately after the US Presidential Elections of 2016, the paper ran a story that alleged that Russia has directly and intentionally helped Donald Trump win the presidency.
Although controversy still surrounds the issue of Russian involvement in last year’s US presidential elections, it is indicative to note that many observers observed that the Washington Post has a tendency of running to publish stories without first checking the facts.
Earlier in November, the paper ran a story in which it said that Russia was behind a massive number of websites that were publishing fake news in a bid to influence public opinion. It later emerged that the source that the paper had relied on for the story, PropOrNot, was not reliable.
A series of revelations later revealed that the methodology that PropOrNot used to identify the websites that carried fake news and tie them to Russian influence was questionable. Once more, Washington Post had to retract the story and issue an apology.