Russians suspected to be behind hacks of nuclear plant

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Russian hackers are reportedly the main suspects behind a breach of more than a dozen power plants across the U.S., according to current and former U.S. officials.

Bloomberg reported Thursday that three people close to the effort to expel the attackers cited Russia as the primary suspect in the breaches, which Wolf Creek said in a statement caused no “operational impact” to the facility.

“There was absolutely no operational impact to Wolf Creek,” a spokeswoman for the nuclear plant told Bloomberg News. “The reason that is true is because the operational computer systems are completely separate from the corporate network.”

In a joint statement obtained by Bloomberg, the Department of Homeland Security and FBI confirmed the intrusion but didn’t name a suspect.

“There is no indication of a threat to public safety, as any potential impact appears to be limited to administrative and business networks,” the agencies said.

Several global cybersecurity firms are investigating the attack, but have not released any conclusions yet.

“We don’t tie this to any known group at this point,” said a lead analyst for FireEye Inc., a global cybersecurity firm. “It’s not to say it’s not related, but we don’t have the evidence at this point.”

Another firm told Bloomberg these attacks could be increasing in effectiveness and popularity.

“We’re moving to a point where a major attack like this is very, very possible,” Galina Antova, co-founder of Claroty, told Bloomberg.

“Once you’re into the control systems — and you can get into the control systems by hacking into the plant’s regular computer network — then the basic security mechanisms you’d expect are simply not there.”

The news about the attack comes ahead of President Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany.

On Thursday, Trump again refused to specifically say Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

“I think it was Russia, but I think it was probably other people or countries, and I see nothing wrong with that statement,” Trump said.

“Nobody really knows,” he added. “Nobody really knows for sure.”

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