The operator of South Korea’s nuclear plant admitted that intruders have breached its computer systems. Now the industry is afraid that the hackers, who may have North Korean links, could also target key infrastructure. As a result, nuclear plants around the country faced a safety drill.
The attack and the safety drill come days after the United States blamed North Korea for hacking Sony. Of course, the country denied responsibility for the attack and threatened to retaliate if the US continued to blame it.
In the meantime, experts from South Korea revealed that only non-critical information about nuclear plants had been leaked. They also assured that they could fend off any efforts to compromise the safety of the atomic facilities in South Korea. The officials didn’t mention North Korea as a possible suspect. During the recent hack, personal details of 10,000 workers were leaked, as well as designs and manuals for at least 2 reactors, electricity flow charts and estimates of radiation exposure among local residents. Nevertheless, there was no evidence that the nuclear control systems had been hacked.
The targeted company operates 23 nuclear reactors and provides about 1/3 of the country’s energy needs. The leaks appeared on Twitter a few days ago, where the unidentified hacker threatened to release further data and demanded the government to shut three reactors. Then the officials confirmed the leaked data was from two plants south-east of Seoul, but they posed no safety risk, because the control monitoring system is totally independent and closed.
The only significant ally of North Korea, China, did not blame the country for recent hacking incidents, but emphasized that they oppose all forms of cyber-attacks and cyber terrorism.