Joint Report From DHS/FBI: Nuclear Facilities Are Being Targeted By Hackers

Posted July 08, 2017

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.

Bloomberg reports that Russian Federation is a chief suspect in the hacking, though other outlets did not name a potential source of the attacks and some analysts warn attribution is premature.

The New York Times reports that USA officials suspect foreign governments, including Russian Federation, are behind the attacks.

In a joint statement to Bloomberg, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security said they were aware of the potential intrusion in the energy sector. The paper said this is the language hacking experts often often use to describe government-backed hackers.

Foreign hackers gained access to computer networks for at least a dozen US power plants since May.

Wolf Creek said that while it can not publicly comment on security issues, its operational controls had not been affected and that the plant is operating safely.

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Wolf Creeks officials reportedly said that none of their operating systems were affected and that their corporate network was different from the one used to run the plant. That is, the hackers could have been engaging in either espionage (of industrial secrets) or - even worse - a means to plot destruction.

The resumes were Microsoft Word documents that contained malicious code, which allowed attackers to steal the recipient's credentials once a document is opened.

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

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

"We never anticipated that our critical infrastructure control systems would be facing advanced levels of malware", Jon Wellinghoff, the former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, told the Times, assuringly.