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News

Stuxnet threat broadens scope

Thales : 14 November, 2013  (Technical Article)
Thales comments on the threat to a Russian nuclear power plant and the serious nature of Stuxnet as a threat to critical infrastructure
Stuxnet threat broadens scope

Kaspersky CEO, Eugene Kaspersky, recently revealed the extreme threat that nuclear power stations are facing, as Stuxnet, the most sophisticated computer worm ever designed and programmed to target Iranian nuclear facilities, has now reached a Russian nuclear power plant.

Commenting on this latest infrastructure threat, Tony Burton, Critical Infrastructure Protection Business Lead at Thales UK, discusses the importance of securing the technology that underpins the generation and distribution of nuclear energy today. Thales is one of few companies able to provide a holistic approach to security as mandated by government for critical national infrastructure, including for the existing fleet of EDF UK nuclear power stations for over 25 years.

According to Tony, “Technology plays a central role in the generation and distribution of nuclear energy, so ensuring that security capabilities meet modern-day demands is critical.  These interconnected systems present an attractive target for those with malicious intentions regarding critical infrastructure.

Stuxnet is believed to have been created to target Iran's nuclear facilities, highlighting the willingness of state organisations to wage cyber-warfare on key elements of national infrastructure. The chief of GCHQ has warned of an 'exponential rise' in cyber-attacks on UK government departments and industry; this is a threat that must be taken seriously.

Cyber-security however should not sit in isolation but rather be tightly integrated with plant processes, people and the physical environment. When managed together, technologies such as cryptography, biometric authentication and pattern-of-life detection can all play their part in protecting people, places and sensitive information.  All too often, we see physical and digital security treated as separate entities during the design process – indeed, securing the physical premises can often be treated as an afterthought to be taken care of once they’re built.”

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