Cyber drills at South Korea nuclear plant amid threats

South Korea’s nuclear power operator is conducting drills against possible hack-attacks after online threats and data leaks.

Design and plant equipment documents owned by Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Company (KHNP) were made available online as well as personal information of 10,000 KHNP workers by an unidentified source. This prompted the company to carry out a two-day exercise to prepare workers in the event of a cyber-attack.

“The two-day drill is under way through simulators to ensure the safety of our nuclear power plants under cyber-attacks,” said a KHNP spokesman, Kim Tae-Seok.

According to a Korea Hydro official, investigators were still looking into whether the data was stolen by hackers who breached its computer systems or if it was leaked by employees. KHNP said the leaked data did not undermine the safety of the reactors.

However, a threat was made that unless the government shut three reactors from 25 December, more data will be disclosed and residents in the area were warned to “stay away”. The Twitter account that posted the threats was under the name of “president of the anti-nuclear reactor group” and hasn’t been identified.

According to an anti-virus company based in Seoul, they warned KHNP after detecting malicious computer codes attached in emails to the nuclear company’s employees, but a connection between the two hasn’t been established yet.

KHNP, the only nuclear operator in Korea, is part of the state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp and operates 23 nuclear reactors that supply about 30 per cent of the country's electricity, local media said.

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