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Hacked Reactors

by Brent Kirkpatrick

(Date Published: .)



Reactor safety systems are being hacked.



There is a hacking campaign against nuclear power plants and other facilities in the energy sector, warns the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security which issued an urgent public warning on Oct. 20. The first warning was given on June 28. Since May, the F.B.I. says that hackers have been using phishing emails to get access credentials for their target networks. The latest warning describes an escalation of the attacks.

Hackers gained access to at least one target network for an energy generator. The D.H.S. believes that this hacking campaign continues and that the hackers intend to continue for the long-term. The attacks have not yet entered control systems, which are on separate local area networks from the Internet, preventing many hackers from gaining access.


By Lothar Neumann, Gernsbach [1] - Karlsruhe:Bild:Philippsburg2.jpg, CC BY-SA 2.5, Link

These are not the first hacks perpetrated against nuclear facilities. In 2017, Chernobyl's safety systems suffered. In 2010 an enrichment facility in Natanz, Iran appeared to be disabled.

In June 2017, the Wannacry attack in Ukraine succeeded in disabling Chernobyl's safety systems. At one point the reactor was monitored manually. Safety systems disabled by hackers is one of the night-mare scenarios.

It is believed that the Stuxnet worm was designed to target a Uranium enrichment facility at Natanz, Iran in 2010. In that hacking incident, it is believed that the centrifuges were the target, rather than safety systems.


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Finkle, Jim. "U.S. warns businesses of hacking campaign against nuclear, energy firms." Reuters. June 30, 2017.

Finkle, Jim. "U.S. warns public about attacks on energy, industrial firms." Reuters. Oct 21, 2017.

Nicole Perlroth, Mark Scott and Sheera Frenkel. "Cyberattack hits Ukraine then spreads internationally." The New York Times. June 27, 2017.

Staff. "Ukraine power cut 'was cyber-attack'." BBC. Jan. 11, 2017.

"Iran pauses uranium enrichment at Natanz nuclear plant". Haaretz.com. 24 November 2010. Retrieved 24 November 2010.

Ellen Nakashima. "Stuxnet was work of U.S. and Israeli experts, officials say". The Washington Post. 2 June 2012.













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