Targeting US Nuclear Power Plants By Pirates

Jul

8

2017

group of unidentified hackers targeted computer networks of companies operating nuclear power plants in the United States over the past two months. Malicious software found in a set of fake biographies aimed at stealing the credentials of senior engineers was discovered, The New York Times.

According to a joint report issued by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation earlier this week, the New York Times identified one target, the Wolf Creek Nuclear Facility, a facility responsible for overseeing the operation of a nuclear power plant outside Burlington, Kansas .

The report states that energy companies and manufacturing plants are also targeted along with nuclear power plants without naming any of them. The intensity of the attacks is still unclear, as is the motive for cyber attacks. Analysis suggests that pirates may be interested in stealing trade secrets of US infrastructure or Disabling the operation of power facilities.

It is also unclear whether more than one facility in charge of US nuclear power plants has been successfully penetrated, or if Wolf Creek employees are the only victims so far. The joint report indicated that there was no indication that pirates had managed to The transition from the computers of their victims to the systems of control of enterprises.

Wolff Creek officials confirmed to the Times that the company’s operations systems are separate from the enterprise’s computer network, which prevents hackers who carry out such attacks from controlling the power station systems directly.

The report says hackers are interested in drawing up computer networks to take advantage of possible future attacks on US nuclear power plants. These attacks focused on staff with direct access to systems that could cause environmental disasters such as leakage Toxic waste and fire.

It appears that the piracy group has not yet been able to surpass the individual computers of the industrial control engineers. The report carries a yellow warning, the highest threat classification, and the organizations that manage nuclear energy and other vital infrastructure in the country have become frequent targets of cyber attacks in recent years .

Barack Obama, the former US president in an executive order issued in 2013 that electronic attacks is one of the most serious national security challenges that the United States must face, and signed President Donald Trump, an executive order in May aimed at strengthening the security of the United States By protecting federal networks and vital infrastructure over the Internet.

And the focus of an executive order item on the protection of public utility networks such as electricity and water, as well as financial systems, health care systems and telecommunications. The pirate techniques used in these attacks are similar to those used by the Russian hacking group known as Energetic Bear, On the energy sector since 2012.

A spokeswoman for the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operations Company declined to comment on the cyber attack, but said there was no operational impact on the facility because the institutional and operational networks remained separate, adding that the safety and control systems of the nuclear reactor and other vital components were not linked to business or Internet networks. Still works safely.

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