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South Korea Nuclear Plant Operator Hacked
From the Wall Street Journal of Mon, 22 Dec 2014 03:35:35 EST

Computers at South Korea’s nuclear plant operator have been hacked, leading to leaks of internal data that include blueprints of reactors as well as radiation exposure estimates.

The state-owned operator Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. Ltd. said Monday that a probe into the breach is under way but declined to detail its progress. KHNP denied that its plants were in danger from a cyberattack, saying the controllers for the reactors are protected from a breach because they aren’t linked to external networks.

The company’s statement comes as North Korea’s cyberwarfare capabilities have been thrust into spotlight, although it remains unclear whether the intrusion into the plants’ systems, which also saw leaks of employees’ personal information, is related to Pyongyang.

The Seoul prosecutors leading the inquiry and the energy ministry declined to comment. North Korea hasn’t made a statement on the power plant hack so far.

Washington says Pyongyang was behind a hacking attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment in November, which led to a massive data leak. President Barack Obama on Sunday called it “an act of cybervandalism” and vowed to “respond proportionally.”

North Korea denies involvement and attributes the intrusion to an independent group of its supporters. Over the weekend, it demanded a joint probe to prove its innocence and threatened a cyberattack against the U.S. government. It also appeared to admit to having fostered a team of hackers, as suggested by defectors.

The hack at Korea Hydro came to light after data from the company was released on a Twitter account on Dec. 15.

Details about the hackers are nebulous. An account owner, whose identity couldn’t be independently verified, said it was a group that opposed nuclear power and said that its head was based in Hawaii.

The group demanded that the company’s three nuclear reactors be shut down from Christmas day.

Korea Hydro says the data leaked since last week aren’t critical. A spokesman for the company declined to comment.

Write to Jeyup S. Kwaak at jeyup.kwaak@wsj.com



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