Hackers attack power plant’s safety systems

Hackers have attacked the safety systems of at least one power plant, halting operations. That’s according to technology firm Schneider Electric and security company FireEye, which have as yet declined […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

Hackers have attacked the safety systems of at least one power plant, halting operations.

That’s according to technology firm Schneider Electric and security company FireEye, which have as yet declined to disclose the nature or location of the facility.

The critical Triconex safety systems, which were developed by Schneider, help industrial control units used in nuclear, oil and gas plants operate properly.

The attack, which several experts have suggested could be state-sponsored, is thought to be the first reported breach of a safety system at an industrial plant by hackers.

A number of controllers entered a failsafe mode as the hackers’ malware attempted to reprogram them, causing related processes to shut down and allowing the plant to notice the attack.

Schneider Electric said: “While evidence suggests this was an isolated incident and not due to a vulnerability in the Triconex system or its program code, we continue to investigate whether there are additional attack vectors.”

A cyber security training programme has been launched to help the energy sector defend itself against people trying to hack its systems and damage vital infrastructure.