Cyber risk for global nuclear facilities

London, Oct 5 (IANS) The risk of a “serious cyber attack” on nuclear power plants around the world is growing, a report said on Monday.

According to the report by London-based think-tank Chatham House, cyber criminals, state-sponsored hackers and terrorists were all increasing their online activity, meaning that the risk of a significant net-based attack was “ever present”, BBC reported.

Such an attack on a nuclear plant, even if small-scale or unlikely, needed to be taken seriously because of the harm that would follow if radiation were released.

In addition, the report said “even a small-scale cyber security incident at a nuclear facility would be likely to have a disproportionate effect on public opinion and the future of the civil nuclear industry”.

This increasing digitisation and growing reliance on commercial software is only increasing the risks the nuclear industry faces.

The researchers for the report had also found evidence of virtual networks and other links to the public internet on nuclear infrastructure networks. Some of these were forgotten or simply unknown to those in charge of these organisations.

The civil nuclear industry should do a better job of measuring cyber attack risks and improve the way it defends against them, according to Chatham House.

Many plants examined by the report’s researchers lacked preparedness for large-scale attacks that took place outside office hours.

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