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South Korean Nuclear Power Plant Hacked

South Korean Nuclear Power Plant Hacked

by Giulio PriscoDecember 24, 2014

South Korea is seeking the cooperation of Chinese authorities in a probe into a cyberattack on its nuclear power plant, Reuters reports.

Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co Ltd (KHNP), which runs South Korea’s 23 nuclear power reactors, said last week its computer systems had been hacked but only non-critical data had been stolen. Connections to South Korean virtual private networks (VPNs) used in the cyberattacks were traced to multiple IP addresses in China’s Shenyang city, located in a province that borders North Korea.

A South Korean prosecution official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said:

When we have the cooperation of the Chinese, where of course we don’t have jurisdiction, we will be asking for checks or maybe a search of the location of the IP addresses. [T]here is a possibility that the IP addresses in China are not the final source but used in a routing. It’s possible (the network) in China was used (remotely) from some other location.

Hackers or Cyberwar?

Data breachThe possible involvement of North Korean is not explicitly stated, let alone confirmed, but it’s not ruled out either. Hackers demanded the shutdown of three reactors by Thursday in Twitter messages, threatening to create “destruction.”

The incident at the nuclear operator came after the United States accused North Korea of a serious cyberattack on Sony Pictures. The White House reiterated North Korea’s culpability and made overtures to China, requesting they help the U.S. “respond proportionately” to the Sony hack.

Also read: Sony Hack Drama Continues: Washington Wants North Korea to Compensate Sony for The Interview

In related news, North Korea experienced widespread Internet outages on Monday. The unusually prolonged connectivity issues could owe their origin to maintenance work or router troubles. However, experts stated the unusual nature of the outages could indicate an ongoing attack against North Korea’s Internet. It seems that cyberwarfare is becoming fashionable indeed.

Images from Shutterstock.

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