A federal investigation is taking place into the breaching of the computer systems in at least one nuclear power plant, according to a report by ABC News.
The good news is that no sensitive systems were impacted by the attack. It seems that the hackers only managed to penetrate into a computer system that focused more on the business side of running the nuclear power plant, which wasn’t named by the report. This is much less alarming than if there was reason to believe they had been able to access systems in the plant that protect the public from nuclear catastrophe.
It is also comforting that neither the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or the International Atomic Energy Agency issued a public safety alert after the attack, indicating that the risk posed by it is not very high.
This isn’t the first major hacking story to occur this week. A malware attack on Tuesday managed to impact companies in Russia, Ukraine and Europe. The companies include Maersk, a Danish shipping firm; Rosneft, a Russian oil and gas company; WPP, a British advertising agency; Merck, an American pharmaceutical company; and Mondelez, which owns snack brands including Oreos and Cadbury.
That attack also had a potentially nuclear consequences. One of the systems affected by it was the one that monitors radiation levels at a nuclear power plant in Chernobyl. As a result, scientists at the facility were forced to manually monitor radiation levels.
This also isn’t the first safety-related incident involving an American nuclear facility. Last month part of a tunnel that had rail cars filled with nuclear waste collapsed at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington.