More cyber security at South Korea’s nuclear plants

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South Korea has boosted cyber security at its nuclear power plants on Tuesday following a series of data leaks. Prosecutors said they were investigating the online threat.

Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co Ltd (KHNP), which runs South Korea’s 23 nuclear power reactors, said on Monday its computer systems had been hacked, raising alarm in a country that is still technically at war with North Korea.

South Korea President Park Geun-hye ordered inspections of safeguards at national infrastructure facilities, including nuclear power plants, against what she called “cyber terrorism”.

The nuclear operator, part of state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp, said only non-critical data had been stolen and operations of the nuclear plants were not at risk.

“Nuclear power plants are first-class security installations that directly impact the safety of the people,” President Park said at a cabinet meeting.

Within hours of Park’s comments, an online user who claimed to have hacked the nuclear operator posted a new threat and a fresh batch of data on the same Twitter account that was used for previous threats and leaks.

“We are now looking at it … We believe it was done by the same user,” an official at South Korean prosecutors’ office investigating the leaks told Reuters.

Earlier, the investigation team official said Seoul had not ruled out the possibility that North Korea was involved in the cyber attack, although Park did not make any mention of it.

The official added that South Korea had requested Washington’s help investigating the matter.

In recent years South Korea has accused the North of a carrying out several cyberattacks on its banks and broadcasters.

The incident at the nuclear operator came after the United States accused North Korea of a serious cyber attack on Sony Pictures and vowed to respond proportionately.