Hackers Have Been Targeting US Nukes

Saturday, 08 Jul, 2017

The concerns regarding such malicious IT attacks have now escalated to another level as reports have claimed that hackers have been trying to infect nuclear plants in the US.

John Keeley, spokesman for the Nuclear Energy Institute, told the New York Times that nuclear facilities are required to report cyberattacks which related to "safety, security and operations", and none had reported any such issues.

The report concludes, however, that the pirates were "determined to map the computer networks (of the companies referred to) in view of future attacks".

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.

Hackers have been probing USA nuclear facilities, their suppliers and manufacturing plants using phishing methods, the United States authorities have said.

"There has been absolutely no operational impact to Wolf Creek", says Wolf Creek spokesperson Jenny Hageman.

At least a dozen USA power plants were successfully breached to some degree, Bloomberg reported, including Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corp.in Kansas.

The origins of the hackers are unknown, but the report indicated that the cyber criminals were state-sponsored.

The agencies said on Thursday that there is no current threat to the public.

The joint report by the DHS and the Federal Bureau of Investigation did not identify the attackers, though it described the hacks as "an advanced persistent threat", a term that US officials typically but not always use to describe attacks by culprits.

The New York Times reports that US officials suspect foreign governments, including Russian Federation, are behind the attacks. The motives behind the cyber-attacks remain unclear.

Energy, nuclear and critical manufacturing organizations have frequently been targets for sophisticated cyberattacks.

Authorities said in the report that they are not sure how many plants were breached.

They sent highly targeted emails to senior engineers at operating firms behind the nuclear plants, mimicking job applications but laced with malicious code, the newspaper said.