Published: Sat, July 08, 2017
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Hackers (Possibly Russian) Have Been Aggressively Targeting US Nuclear Facilities

Hackers (Possibly Russian) Have Been Aggressively Targeting US Nuclear Facilities

"Reports of cyberattacks on the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation in Burlington, Kansas, and other nuclear power plants across the country are deeply concerning and a serious threat to national security", Moran said.

Hackers have been targeting companies that operate nuclear power plants in the recent months, according to a pair of reports Thursday.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that sources familiar with the work being done to remove hackers from the power plant computer systems told them that Russian Federation was the likely suspect behind these cyberattacks.

The news organization Reuters reported Saturday that the USA government had warned industrial firms about a hacking campaign targeting the nuclear and energy sectors, but the report provided to the firms did not name any specific victims.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security said there's now no threat to the public. The reports do, however, suggest that the hackers may have been using the opportunity to map networks, which could be used as intelligence for future attacks.

The corporate network and the internet were separate from the network that runs the plant, these officials were quoted as saying.

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The U.S. Department of Energy said on Friday it is helping U.S. firms defend against a hacking campaign that targeted power companies including at least one nuclear plant, saying the attacks have not impacted electricity generation or the grid.

Nuclear Energy Institute spokesperson John Keeley said that nuclear facilities are required by law to report cyberattacks but that none of the 100 or so facilities covered by the Institute have said that their security was compromised.

Wolf Creek nuclear power plant in Kansas, one of the targeted facilities.

The DHS document carried the second-highest threat rating, the Times said.

There was a similar report on Russian malicious cyber activity in December. Global governments have also taken to deeming power plants as criticial infrastructure to offer them additional security against potential cyberthreats. E&E reports numerous attackers used a "watering hole" technique, where they plant malicious code on websites likely to be visited by workers. The New York Times report says targets were both in the US and in other countries.

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