They kept this quiet! Hacker Attempt on US Nuke Facility

Wolf Creek nuclear plant in Burlington, Kansas. (Photo by KSNT)

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Russia-backed hackers had their sights attempted to take control of a nuclear power plant in east Kansas.

It was organized by Russia’s spy agency as part of a large-scale international operation to seize control over critical infrastructure assets in the U.S., the Department of Justice alleged in an indictment unsealed Thursday.

Three agents with Russia’s Federal Security Service — Pavel Akulov, Mikhail Gavrilov and Marat Tyukov — face charges in the U.S. District of Kansas after a federal grand jury was convened last summer in Kansas City, Kansas. The agents are accused of computer fraud, wire fraud, identity theft and causing damage to the property of an energy facility.

The Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation, based in Burlington, is named in the indictment as one of hundreds of U.S. energy sector operations targeted by Russian intelligence. Through their efforts, the agents allegedly used a spearphishing method to compromise the company’s computer systems in which they sent emails while posing as employees. More here.

The indictment said the hackers targeted engineers and employees at more than 500 sites in 135 countries. The document said the suspects sent emails to employees at Wolf Creek, claiming to be applying for work at the nuclear power plant.

nstead, the emails installed malware on Wolf Creek computers. When the employees browsed a compromised website, the hackers were able to capture login credentials used to access the plant’s network.

According to the indictment, the men were officers at Federal Security Service in Moscow, Russia.

Can’t say we weren’t warned