Hackers Targeted US Nuclear Facilities, and Russia Is the Top Suspect

Hackers Targeted US Nuclear Facilities, and Russia Is the Top Suspect

Hackers Targeted US Nuclear Facilities, and Russia Is the Top Suspect

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

The US Department of Energy also said the impact appears limited to administrative and business networks.

Three people familiar with efforts to combat the hack told Bloomberg that Russian hackers were the chief suspects, who had planned to disrupt the nation's power supply, officials said.

But Marty Rosenberg, editor of Energy Times, a digital publication that reports on the energy sector, says the public should be concerned about the attacks.

The June 28 alert said that hackers have been observed using tainted emails to harvest credentials to gain access to networks of their targets. Rather, the hackers meant to map out computer networks for future attacks, the DHS/FBI report said. "Once you're into the control systems - and you can get into the control systems by hacking into the plant's regular computer network - then the basic security mechanisms you'd expect are simply not there".

The statement came amid multiple news reports that nuclear and electrical power may have been targeted by hackers.

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But the Times said an "advanced persistent threat" actor was responsible.

Russian government-sponsored hackers are suspected of being behind the penetration of computer systems at several US nuclear power plants.

Wolf Creek declined to comment on security issues but emphasized that there had been no "operational impact" on its facility.

A joint report from both intelligence agencies did not indicate whether the cyberattacks were meant to cause destruction or access industrial secrets.

The hacks come against the backdrop of increasing worldwide tensions over United States intelligence agencies' conclusion that Russian Federation tried to influence the 2016 presidential election. They are used by manufacturers, nuclear plant operators and pipeline operators to monitor variables like pressure and flow rates through pipelines.

The report did not say exactly how many systems have been compromised or speculate on the hackers' motives.

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