As the U.S. reels from a blistering cyber security attack this week that has infected over a dozen federal agencies, the nation’s nuclear power facilities may have been breached as well. Reports from the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration indicate that hackers have indeed accessed their internal networks as part of a larger espionage operation, which cyber security experts say bears all the hallmarks of Russian intelligence services.
The attack was only recently discovered by the Department of Homeland Security, but may have been in progress for an undetermined number of weeks before detection, the department’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) confirmed in a statement released to CNN. “We have been working closely with our agency partners regarding recently discovered activity on government networks” the statement read, “CISA is providing technical assistance to affected entities as they work to identify and mitigate any potential compromises.”
While the potential damage, in terms of compromised data, has yet to be fully assessed, the point of entry appears to be a well-known IT contractor, SolarWinds, which is utilized by several civilian federal agencies to manage potential data breaches. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the nuclear facilities at the Sandia and Los Alamos laboratories reported unidentified intrusions into their cyber networks. The extent of the damage, including what has been potentially discovered or stolen, by the suspected Russian hacking group APT29, remains unclear or at least undisclosed at this time.
Heeding the November 30th proclamation from the Department of Defense (DoD), calling on U.S. military suppliers to comply with the new cyber security regulations of NIST 800-171, Otek is earnestly preparing its products for a new age in the industry where protection from cyber attacks will be a priority. Our SSAM smart meter was designed especially for this endeavor, as it is invulnerable to cyber attacks by way of being designed without any critical digital assets such as microprocessors.
Otek remains a faithful supplier to the nuclear and military industries, and as 2021 ushers in a new climate for cyber vulnerability, we look forward to the challenge of designing new innovations that help protect American industries.
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