The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the body in charge of all nuclear operations of the United Nations, has revealed that one nuclear power plant was hacked four years ago.The hack, they have said, happened alongside some attempts at stealing uranium.
Yukiya Amano, who is the director of the agency, said to Reuters as he was visiting Germany: “The attack led to several problems, and the power plant had to undergo certain precautionary procedures.”
But the incident was barely disruptive. It was not deemed serious enough to lead to the closure of the power plant. It was therefore designated as disruptive and not destructive.
While the director refused to disclose which particular power plant he was referring to, he went on to state that cyber threats against nuclear facilities were something to seriously consider. There are possibilities of such cyber attacks occurring alongside the more ordinary attacks.
He went on to give an example of a man who stole uranium that was enriched enough to be used in dirty bombs.
The threat of cyber attacks on nuclear power plants is a serious one that should be given much attention. The problem is that it is hard to tell whether you know everything or if it is just a part of something much larger and more serious.”
In 2014, the main nuclear plant in South Korea was the target of a series of cyber attacks which led to the disruption of operations. The attacker also managed to leak nuclear manuals to the public over the internet.
The blame fell on North Korea which was named as the perpetrator. However, NK has not admitted any part in the attacks, calling them merely trumped up accusations against the country.
This year, it was revealed that one nuclear plant in Germany named Gundremmingen was the target of a malware that was embedded in the computer system of the facility.
It was found not be of any threat, however. But one worm that was unleashed upon Iran’s nuclear plants was so serious that it was named the first ever cyber weapon.
To date, over 10 thousand people have been trained by the IAEA in nuclear security issues. These include police and guards on how to keep the facilities secure physically.
The agency has also started giving nuclear detection devices which will allow security personnel to detect nuclear material theft.