Date
16 December 2017
Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. Ltd., which runs the country's 23 nuclear power reactors like this one in Ulsan, said its computer systems had been hacked. Photo: Bloomberg
Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. Ltd., which runs the country's 23 nuclear power reactors like this one in Ulsan, said its computer systems had been hacked. Photo: Bloomberg

S Korea raises cyber security after nuclear data hack

South Korea on Tuesday boosted computer security in the country’s nuclear power plants after President Park Geun-hye said there had been a series of “grave” data leaks.

Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. Ltd., 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, Reuters reported. 

Park ordered inspections of safeguards at national infrastructure facilities, including nuclear power plants, against what she called “cyber terrorism”, the report said.

Authorities have raised the cyber crisis alert by one level for all state-run companies to “caution” from “attention”.

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,” Park was quoted as saying at a cabinet meeting.

“A grave situation that is unacceptable has developed when there should have been not a trace of lapse as a matter of national security,” she said.

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 by telephone.

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

Seoul has requested Washington’s help in investigating the matter, the official added.

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

Last Friday the United States said North Korea was behind a cyber attack on Sony Pictures and vowed to respond proportionately.

Anti-nuclear activists in South Korea have also protested against the use of nuclear power, according to the news agency.

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FL/CG

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