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Hackers are targeting nuclear facilities, U.S. intelligence agencies warn

By Brooks Hays
Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant stands on the edge of the Hudson River near the Ramapo Fault in Buchanan, New York. A new report from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security suggest hackers have been targeting companies that operate nuclear facilities in the United States. Photo by UPI/John Angelillo | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/a62d61d2deee0ecf46c9722bc6fc5bab/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant stands on the edge of the Hudson River near the Ramapo Fault in Buchanan, New York. A new report from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security suggest hackers have been targeting companies that operate nuclear facilities in the United States. Photo by UPI/John Angelillo | License Photo

July 7 (UPI) -- For the past two months, hackers have been targeting computer and security systems at nuclear facilities and manufacturing plants in the U.S. and elsewhere, according to a report by officials at the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.

The report was reviewed by the New York Times, who first broke the story. The report doesn't make the severity of the attacks or the motives of the attackers clear.

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One of the targets was Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation, which manages a nuclear power plant near Burlington, Kan.

Although hackers have successfully penetrated computers belonging to employees at companies controlling nuclear facilities, it appears they have not been successful in making the jump from a single computer to a facility's operating or security systems.

"There is no indication of a threat to public safety, as any potential impact appears to be limited to administrative and business networks," an FBI spokesperson told the Times.

Nuclear facilities and the companies operating them are required by law to report any lapses in security or damage done by cyberattacks. None have done so, according to John Keeley, a spokesman for the Nuclear Energy Institute.

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"These were business networks, not computer systems anywhere near the operational systems," Robert M. Lee, founder of Dragon, an infrastructure cybersecurity firm, told WIRED. "On the one hand it's concerning. On the other it's really far from anything near the industrial control systems."

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