Chinese Hinkley investment could pose ‘cyber risk’

Chinese involvement in the development of Hinkley Point C could leave the UK open to cyber attacks and blackouts. That is according to security expert Robert Lee, CEO of cyber […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

Chinese involvement in the development of Hinkley Point C could leave the UK open to cyber attacks and blackouts.

That is according to security expert Robert Lee, CEO of cyber security company Dragos Inc. He suggested by accepting Chinese investment, Britain could open itself up to cyber attacks like those recently seen in the Ukraine.

He told the Daily Star: “It’s good to seek international cooperation but critical national infrastructure is not the place to do it. Hinkley Point and sites like it need to be owned and operated by the UK or its companies and protected as sensitive infrastructure.

“Cyber attacks have proved able to target such facilities to cause outages and damage. The cyber security of our infrastructure is paramount and allowing foreign countries to operate it makes securing it more difficult. Tampering with energy supplies both from an espionage perspective as well as a military objective have long been considerations for conflict scenarios.

“Foreign owned infrastructure can introduce challenges in this area.”

Prime Minister Theresa May gave the £18 billion energy plan final approval last week after long delays.

She had initially paused progress on the project after taking over as Prime Minister in July.

China warned further delays, after eight years of negotiations, could lead to a breakdown in international relations.

After reviewing the project, the PM has settled on a ‘new agreement’ with EDF to deliver the plant with Chinese funding.