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South Korea Plays Down Worm Infection at Nuke Plant

5/01/2015 by Sharon Shahzad


South Korea’s energy minister has tried to reassure parliament that a “low risk” worm which infected computer systems at a nuclear plant did not affect reactor controls.

Yoon Sang-jick told a parliamentary session last week that the worm was probably introduced by workers via infected and unauthorized USB devices.

However, he maintained that the control systems of the facilities housing the reactors were not connected to external networks and therefore safe, according to Reuters.

He claimed the incident was unrelated to a hacking attack earlier in December on operator Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co (KHNP). That led to non-critical data being stolen and a Twitter message by someone claiming to be the attacker threatening to shut down three reactors.

However, lawmakers were unsurprisingly dubious about Yoon’s claims.

"I doubt control systems are perfectly safe as said," Lee Jung-hyun is reported to have told the committee hearing.

The new admission of security concerns comes just days after the state-run operator conducted a two-day cyber-attack drill at South Korea’s four nuclear plants, which supply around a third of the country’s electricity.

It seems to have done little to reassure lawmakers and others about KHNP’s ability to withstand a concerted cyber-attack.

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