Feds said to believe cyberattacks may be mapping networks
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 Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corp., which runs a nuclear power plant in Kansas, was one company hit by cyberintruders, both the New York Times and Bloomberg News reported. Other energy facilities and manufacturing plants have also been targeted since May, the reports said, citing a joint report by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI. Bloomberg reported Russia is the chief suspect in the hacks.
According to the government report, the severity of the cyberattacks is still unclear, as is their motive. The government report could not tell if the intrusions were an attempt at industrial espionage or sabotage, but concluded the hackers appeared to be mapping out networks for possible future attacks, the Times said.
Wolf Creek officials told the Times that no “operations systems” were affected, and that its corporate network is separate from the network that controls the nuclear plant’s operations. “There is no indication that hackers had been able to jump from their victims’ computers into the control systems of the facilities,” the Times reported.
A spokesman for the Nuclear Energy Institute told the Times that no nuclear-plant operator had reported operational security breaches in the recent wave of attacks.
In April, energy industry officials told a Senate committee that the Energy Department needs to cooperate more with businesses to help them prevent cyberattacks. “The threat is very real,” Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. chief executive Duane D. Highley told senators.
This article originally appeared on: Market Watch.