SHAFAQNA – South Korea is preparing to conduct drills to test its nuclear reactors’ resistance to a cyber-attack after threats from a hacker.Fears over a threat to security at Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co (KHNP) have amplified after designs and manuals of plant equipment were posted online last week by an anonymous group, which warned that three nuclear reactors must be closed “by Christmas”.
The group said that people should “stay away” from the plant if they are not effectively shut down.
KHNP said in a statement that while the leaked “non-critical” data did not threaten the safety of the reactors, it would conduct large-scale drills at four nuclear power plant complexes on Monday and Tuesday.
It insisted, however, that there was “no risk” to nuclear installations – including 23 atomic reactors, which supply around 30 per cent of the country’s electricity.
The South Korean government said that while blueprints of the reactors were posted on social media on Friday by an account named “president of the anti-nuclear reactor group”, the central operating systems of the reactors had not been hacked.
South Korea’s energy ministry said it was confident that its nuclear plants could block any infiltration by cyber attackers that could compromise the safety of the reactors.
“It’s our judgment that the control system itself is designed in such a way and there is no risk whatsoever,” Chung Yang-ho, the deputy energy minister, told Reuters.
An unnamed KHNP official also told the news agency that it was “100 per cent impossible” that a hacker could stop nuclear power plants by attacking them because the control monitoring system is “totally independent and closed”.
But an expert in nuclear reactor design, Suh Kune Yull of Seoul National University, warned of a “gaping hole” in national security.
“If anyone is intent with malice to infiltrate the system, it would be impossible to say with confidence that such an effort would be blocked completely,” he said.
Authorities have now launched an investigation into the hacking and leaking of internal documents over the last two weeks, including the posting of information relating to the cooling systems, a radiation exposure report and the personal data of employees.
The hacking was reported as America accused North Korea of a devastating cyber-attack on Sony Pictures