Hackers targeting USA nuclear power plant operators

Hackers are Targeting Nuclear Facilities, Homeland Security Dept. and FBI Say

For the past couple of months, hackers have breached the computer networks of companies that operate nuclear power facilities in the USA, according to a new report from federal law enforcement officials.

Galina Antova, co-founder of New York-based Claroty, which specializes in securing industrial control systems, told Bloomberg News that those backdoors could be used to incorporate software specifically created to penetrate a facility's operational controls and disrupt critical systems.

The DHS and Federal Bureau of Investigation acknowledged the incidents in a statement Thursday but said "any potential impact appears to be limited to administrative and business networks".

Hackers have gained access to computer networks of companies operating nuclear power stations since May, a new report has revealed. The attacks resemble those making by Russian hacking group Energetic Bear, which has been going after energy companies since 2012, reports The New York Times. The paper said this is the language hacking experts often often use to describe government-backed hackers. However, the attackers allegedly attempted to map out targets' networks for future intrusions.

The Nuclear Energy Institute said last week that no nuclear reactors were affected.




The report did not specify if the attacks were aimed at industrial espionage or causing damage.

The corporation has a nuclear facility near Burlington, in Coffey County.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Japanese foreign minister Fumio Kishida in St. Petersburg, Russia, December 2, 2016.

According the researcher's report, targeting the companies gives hackers the opportunity to remotely takeover industrial control systems.

It seems so far whoever behind the campaign has tried phishing and watering-hole attacks, but haven't got beyond corporate networks (which in critical infrastructure should be on separate networks from the operational systems). Federal officials say the hackers were only able to penetrate the business side of the nuclear facility - not the operations of the plant - and that there was no threat to public safety.

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