The threat of cyber attacks on nuclear power plants and other nuclear facilities is substantial and on the increase, according to experts at the Nuclear Industry Summit, held earlier in the year. Hackers are becoming more skillful and dangerous in a way that could have a devastating impact on nuclear facilities and grids.
It is imperative that businesses, governments, and regulators make cybersecurity an industry-wide priority. Experts at the Nuclear Industry Summit (NIT) emphasized that hackers have turned their focus on these systems because therein lies the key to causing massive chaos and damage.
The most successful publicly known cyberattack on a nuclear facility utilized malware which caused serious damage to production equipment at an Iranian plant that was enriching nuclear materials. That virus was the infamous Stuxnet, which was able to induce the facility’s centrifuges to spin out of control and break down.
Potential attacks on non-nuclear, major industrial sites is also gravely concerning. For instance, an attack on Ukraine’s electrical grid left thousands of people without power. The attackers used a program called BlackEnergy which targets industrial control systems. According to RegBlog, “cybersecurity threats are an all-too-real risk for many buildings and electric grids connected to the Internet. According to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security report, although ‘the energy sector only represents 5-6 percent of U.S. GDP, the energy industry is subject to roughly 32 percent of all cyberattacks.” Read More