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USA’s old nuclear operating controls – safe from Russian hacking – we hope

Russia Hacks U.S. Nuclear Plants, Infrastructure ‘Hundreds Of Thousands Of Times A Day’  Investors Business Daily MICHAEL LARKIN-16 Mar 18, Russian hackers are attacking critical U.S. infrastructure, including the energy grid, nuclear power plants, and airports, according to U.S. government officials.

Water processing plants are among the other targets being repeatedly tested by rolling attacks. Last year, more than a dozen power plants in seven states were breached due to Russia’s ongoing campaign of cyberattacks.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry told the House Appropriations Subcommittee Thursday cyberattacks are “literally happening hundreds of thousands of times a day. … The warfare that goes on in the cyberspace is real, it’s serious, and we must lead the world.”

Such attacks were cited as being one of the reasons the Trump administration imposed sanctions on a series of Russian organizations and individuals Thursday. In a doomsday scenario, such attacks could leave millions without water and electricity……..

An alert issued by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI Thursday laid out in more detail what the Russians have been targeting, and how they are going about it.

“Since at least March 2016, Russian government cyber actors … targeted government entities and multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, including the energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors,” the alert said.

The techniques being employed include sending spear-phishing emails from compromised legitimate accounts, host-based exploitation and the targeting of industrial control system infrastructure………

While information theft was one of the goals, a key prize would have been gaining control of systems used by infrastructure. They could then launch attacks that could leave millions without water and power.

An even more worrying prospect would be hackers gaining control of a nuclear power plant. A sudden shutdown can trigger safety systems designed to disperse excess heat and prevent a meltdown, though safety systems themselves may be vulnerable to attack. However, the operating systems used at such plants are usually decades-old legacy controls that cannot be exploited by hackers. …….


March 17, 2018 - Posted by | safety, USA

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