Nuclear Power Plant hacked, hackers tried to steal ingredients for dirty bombs

Cyber criminals hack UN nuclear power plant, try to steal nuclear fission material

Here is a scenario that security researchers and experts have been warning us for a decade now. Cyber criminals somehow getting access to the nuclear power plant and nuclear fission material which can be used to build dirty bombs. Apparently, the experts were not fooling us!

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which oversees United Nations nuclear operations, says a nuclear power plant was successfully hacked three or four years ago. The hackers also made an attempt to steal uranium which could have powered their dirty bombs.

The director of the agency, Yukiya Amano, told a Reuters correspondent during a visit to Germany that the attack “caused some problems” and the plant had to “take some precautionary measures.”

Amano said that the incident was serious but not enough to shut down the plant and said that the attack was  “disruptive” rather than “destructive.” He, however, did not name the Nuclear Power Plant which was hacked. Amano added that attack against such core facilities was not “an imaginary risk,” especially alongside more traditional threats — such as a case which followed in which an individual attempted to steal enriched uranium to use in dirty bombs.

Amano commented:

“This issue of cyber attacks on nuclear-related facilities or activities should be taken very seriously. We never know if we know everything or if it’s the tip of the iceberg.”

This year, hackers were successful in shutting down a Gundremmingen nuclear plant in Germany  by planting malware on the facility’s computer systems. The malware was not considered particularly harmful to the plant’s operations — unlike Stuxnet, a worm dubbed the “world’s first digital weapon” which was used to disrupt Iranian power plants.

Such attacks and the hacking attack that happened on the nuclear power plant give a grim view of a situation where the cyber criminals have access to dirty bombs and then proceed to do something unforgettable.

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