Most of us by now have received the unwelcome news that our email or Facebook account has been hacked or that our credit card data may have been stolen. We’ve also seen news reports about government agencies or airlines, banks or big-box stores dealing with cyber breaches.
Imagine waking up one day to the news that a terrorist group had hacked into a nuclear power plant’s surveillance cameras or badge readers and facilitated the theft of materials that could be used to build a bomb. Imagine learning that a hacker had sabotaged a plant’s safety systems and caused a serious radiological release. Imagine if anonymous hackers seized control of a nuclear plant’s most critical systems and then held it hostage until their demands were met.
These scenarios are not Hollywood fantasies. Cyber threats to nuclear facilities are real and growing – and unlike social media or even credit card hacks, the consequences could be catastrophic.
To help governments, industry and international organizations get ahead of the urgent and evolving threat, the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) has just released a new report, Outpacing Cyber Threats: Priorities for Cybersecurity at Nuclear Facilities, which lays out priorities for a new, overarching strategy to protect nuclear facilities.
Such a strategy is more important than ever. Cyber incidents at nuclear facilities are occurring with increasing frequency, and too few countries have effective cybersecurity measures in place.