German Nuclear Plant Infected With Virus

Recently, a nuclear power plant in Germany was found infected with viruses but has not posed any threat to the facility’s operation as it’s isolated from the internet.

The Gundremmingen plant, located about 120 km (75 miles) northwest of Munich, is run by the German utility RWE (RWEG.DE).

Two of the prominent viruses “W32.Ramnit” and “Conficker”, were discovered at Gundremmingen’s B unit in a computer system retrofitted in 2008 with data visualization software associated with equipment for moving nuclear fuel rods, RWE said.

They also said that 18 removable drives used in office computers maintained separately from the plant’s operating system were found to be infected with malware.

According to the security firm Symantec, W32.Ramnit affects Microsoft Windows software and is designed to steal files from infected computers. It had been discovered in 2010 as a virus that is mostly distributed through data sticks, and gives the attacker remote control over a system.

Conficker has infected millions of Windows computers worldwide since it first came to light in 2008. It is able to spread through networks and by copying itself onto removable data drives.

RWE has informed Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), which is working with IT specialists at the group to look into the incident.

As Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer for Finland-based F-Secure, says  that infections of critical infrastructure were surprisingly common, but that they were generally not dangerous unless the plant had been targeted specifically.

He mentioned a similar example of Android phone viruses found in aircraft cockpit operating systems but not affecting it at all because of the different operating systems.The malware spread to the planes only because factory employees were charging their phones with the USB port in the cockpit.

Moreover, after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster five years ago, the German government has decided to speed up the shutdown of nuclear plants.

Source: Akati

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