The threat to digital systems at the country’s nuclear power plants is considerable, but the sector is better prepared to defend against potentially devastating cyberattacks than most other utilities, according to government and industry officials and experts.
Cyberattacks have been an increasing source of concern in recent years but the threat was highlighted in July by the first discovery of malicious code specifically formulated to target the systems that direct the inner operations of industrial plants. To date the malware is thought to have infected more than 15,000 computers worldwide, mostly in Iran, Indonesia and India.
The issue is critically important for new nuclear power facilities that would be built in the United States and throughout the world as control rooms would employ digital systems to operate the plants. Those state-of-the-art instruments and systems make them targets for hackers.