Russian hackers target Kansas nuclear plant

BURLINGTON, Kan. (KSNT) –  A New York Times report indicates a Kansas nuclear power plant was among hundreds of oil, gas and energy investment companies targeted by Russian hackers. The Wolf Creek nuclear power plant is near Burlington, about an hour south of Topeka.

The information for the New York Times article was collected from a report put together by private cyber-security researchers. According to the report, the motive behind the attacks appears to be industrial espionage — a natural conclusion given the importance of Russia’s oil and gas industry, the researchers said.

In an emailed statement to KSNT News, Wolf Creek Communications Manager Jenny Hageman said, “We don’t make public comments about security issues, except to confirm there has been absolutely no operational impact to Wolf Creek.”

Coffey County, where the plant is located, has an emergency management program in place to prevent things like this from happening. The program’s director, Russel Stukey said if there were ever to be a problem at the plant, they’re ready.

“We have preset plans and evacuation routes and a reception center for those people to evacuate to,” he said.

Some people expressed their concerns, while others said they’re confident with the safety measures that are in place.

“That’s kinda scary if you think about it because Russia, that’s clear across country,” said Coffey County resident Trevor Hill.

Meanwhile, Coffey County resident Derek Busheit said, “Whatever got hacked doesn’t really raise any concerns for me.”

According the researcher’s report, targeting the companies gives hackers the opportunity to remotely takeover industrial control systems. Wolf Creek’s statement to KSNT News goes on to say, “The operational computer systems are completely separate from the corporate network. The safety and control systems for the nuclear reactor and other vital plant components are not connected to business networks or the internet.”

The Russian attacks affected more than 1,000 organizations in more than 84 countries.

 

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