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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

South Korean Firm Claims North Korean Hackers Behind Cyber Attack on Indian Nuclear Plant

Sputnik News

10:27 05.11.2019

New Delhi (Sputnik): With the recent controversy over an alleged Israeli spyware-attack via WhatsApp on several Indian political leaders, social activists and journalists still in the news, speculation about a malware attack on an Indian nuclear plant has come to the forefront, raising questions about cybersecurity in India.

A South Korean cybersecurity firm claims that the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) in southern India's Tamil Nadu state was attacked by North Korean "DTrack" malware in an attempt to obtain internal information about "thorium-based nuclear power".

Located off the Bay of Bengal in the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu state, the power plant is the single largest nuclear power station in India.

In its analysis, Seoul-based IssueMake Labs also asserted that along with the plant, senior Indian nuclear scientists including former Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission of India, Anil Kakodkar and former Chairman of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, S A Bhardwaj – were also targeted by the hackers.

​Addressing the speculations surrounding the malware-attack rumours, on 29 October, KKNPP issued a statement claiming that the plant's control system was not connected to any cyber network outside its periphery.

Just one day after denying the cyber attacks, on 30 October, the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCI) admitted that their systems were, in fact, infected by foreign malware.

The experts also alleged that North Korean hackers have continuously been attempting to breach nuclear facilities and accounts of top nuclear scientists to obtain confidential nuclear-power information from India.

​Indian cyber-security expert Pukhraj Singh, who first raised alarm bells about the cyber-attack at KKNPP said that such incidents highlight India's lack of a deterrence strategy.

Singh took to Twitter to point out that the cyber-attacks were not destructive because the attackers did not get aggressive and added: "We were at their mercy".


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