It's hard to think of something more terrifying than a devastating cyberattack on one of our nuclear power plants. In 2010, the infamous computer worm known as Stuxnet infiltrated Iranian nuclear centrifuges, causing them to spin out of control and physically tear themselves apart. Imagine something similar happening at a U.S. nuclear facility. It's never been confirmed who was behind Stuxnet, but many experts believe the United States and Israeli governments masterminded the effort.
If we can do it to them, you better believe they want to do it to us.
And the terrifying reality is, they're succeeding. We now know that foreign powers have successfully attacked computers in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission at least three times over the past three years. Keep in mind that this was nothing like Stuxnet; there was no wrecking ball computer worm targeting reactor technology. It was more like the phishing attacks I'm always warning you not to click. Nextgov reports:
The phishing emails baited personnel by asking them to verify their user accounts by clicking a link and logging in. The link really took victims to "a cloud-based Google spreadsheet." A dozen NRC personnel took the bait and clicked the link. The IG Cyber Crime Unit was able to "track the person who set up the spreadsheet to a foreign country," the report states, without identifying the nation.
We don't know what information NRC employees coughed up in this scam. But it wasn't the only cyberattack. In another case, malware was spread through one employee's email contact list. Again, we're not sure who's behind it or what information they stole. The NRC is responsible for overseeing all our nation's power plants, and it keeps detailed records on the locations, condition and supply of all fissile material and nuclear reactors in the country.
These attacks took place between 2010 and 2013, but we're now learning about them thanks to a recently released internal security investigation. The attacks were traced to foreign sources, and experts believe they're likely state-sponsored. We've recently seen an increase in covert cyberattacks on our country by foreign hackers.
There's nothing you can do but prepare yourself for a massive cyberattack against our infrastructure. Click here to find out what you need to do to get ready for the worst.