Hackers Go Nuclear

May 27th, 2008 at 12:00 am

mushroom cloud

And you thought they were going to launch a bomb.  Well not exactly.

Russian nuclear power websites were attacked last week by hackers.  The intent was to spread false rumors of a nuclear leak at the plant in forums and while doing that, make the official websites inaccessible to the public.  For example, spread panic and shut down 9-1-1.

A spokesman for the Rosatom state nuclear corporation said the cyber attacks had been planned and coincided with the release of the reports.

"People who stand to lose out from the Russian nuclear power industry’s development have an incentive to spread false rumors of an accident at the nuclear plant," he said.

"This was a planned action by hackers, which has brought down almost all sites providing access to the Automatic Radiation Environment Control System (ASKRO), including the Leningrad NPP site, the rosatom.ru site, and others. For several hours users were unable to reach the sites and obtain reliable information on the situation at the plant."

ASKRO is part of a permanent environment and sanitary control system, which is tasked to report to the population the state of the nuclear power plant and authorize evacuations.  The ASKRO’s online service was a 24-7 real time service.

This incident is not the first in Russia.  There have been times where panic did spread worse and people started drinking iodine as a counter measure to radiation sickness.