Explorar por categoría

Gestión y administración - Tecnología de la información (programas) | 2017-12-27

Cyber security at civil nuclear facilities – understanding the risks

World Economic Forum | Recent high-profile cyber attacks, including the deployment of the sophisticated 2010 Stuxnet worm, have raised new concerns about the cyber security vulnerabilities of nuclear facilities.

As cyber criminals, states and terrorist groups increase their online activities, the fear of a serious cyber attack is ever present. This is of particular concern because of the risk – even if remote – of a release of ionizing radiation as a result of such an attack, argues the report, Cyber Security at Civil Nuclear Facilities: Understanding the Risks. Moreover, even a small-scale cyber security incident at a nuclear facility would be likely to have a disproportionate effect on public opinion and the future of the civil nuclear industry.

Notwithstanding important recent steps taken by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to improve cyber security across the sector, the nuclear energy industry currently has less experience in this field than other sectors.

Digital route

This is partly due to the nuclear industry’s regulatory requirements, which have meant that digital systems have been adopted later than in other types of critical infrastructure. In addition, the industry’s long-standing focus on physical protection and safety has meant that while these aspects of risk response are now relatively robust, less attention has been paid to developing cyber security readiness. As a result, exploiting weaknesses in digital technology could be the most attractive route for those seeking to attack nuclear facilities without fear of interdiction.

The cyber security risk is growing as nuclear facilities become increasingly reliant on digital systems and make increasing use of commercial ‘off-the-shelf’ software, which offers considerable cost savings but increases vulnerability to hacking attacks. The trend to digitization, when combined with a lack of executive-level awareness of the risks involved, also means that nuclear plant personnel may not realize the full extent of this cyber vulnerability and are thus inadequately prepared to deal with potential attacks.

There is a pervading myth that nuclear facilities are ‘air gapped’ – or completely isolated from the public internet – and that this protects them from cyber attack. Yet, not only can air gaps be breached with nothing more than a flash drive (as in the case of Stuxnet), but the commercial benefits of internet connectivity mean that nuclear facilities may now have virtual private networks and other connections installed, sometimes undocumented or forgotten by contractors and other legitimate third-party operators.

Hacking risk

Meanwhile, hacking is becoming ever easier to conduct, and more widespread: automatic cyber attack packages targeted at known and discovered vulnerabilities are now widely available; advanced techniques used by Stuxnet are now known and being copied; and search engines can readily identify critical infrastructure components that are connected to the internet.

In the light of these concerns, Chatham House undertook an 18-month project on the nexus between cyber security and nuclear security. By drawing on in-depth interviews with 30 industry practitioners, as well as policy-makers and academics, and convening three expert roundtables, the project sought to assess the major cyber security challenges facing the wider nuclear industry; to identify international policy measures that could help to enhance cyber security in the sector; and to help increase knowledge of current concerns in this area.

Its report examines the major cyber threats to civil nuclear facilities, focusing in particular on those that could have an impact on industrial control systems, and suggests some potential solutions to these challenges.

Main findings

The research identified the following major challenges for civil nuclear facilities:

Industry-wide challenges

The infrequency of cyber security incident disclosure at nuclear facilities makes it difficult to assess the true extent of the problem and may lead nuclear industry personnel to believe that there are few incidents. Moreover, limited collaboration with other industries or information-sharing means that the nuclear industry tends not to learn from other industries that are more advanced in this field.

A paucity of regulatory standards, as well as limited communication between cyber security companies and vendors, are also of concern.

This suggests that the industry’s risk assessment may be inadequate; as a consequence, there is often insufficient spending on cyber security.

Developing countries may be particularly at risk, because they have even fewer resources available to invest in cyber security.

Cultural challenges

Nuclear plant personnel, who are operational technology engineers, and cyber security personnel, who are information technology engineers, frequently have difficulty communicating, which can lead to friction. In many cases the problem is exacerbated by the off-site location of cyber security personnel.

Nuclear plant personnel often lack an understanding of key cyber security procedures, finding that the procedures documents produced by cyber security personnel do not communicate this information in language that is clear to them.

Cyber security training at nuclear facilities is often insufficient. In particular, there is a lack of integrated cyber security drills between nuclear plant personnel and cyber security personnel.

Reactive rather than proactive approaches to cyber security contribute to the possibility that a nuclear facility might not know of a cyber attack until it is already substantially under way.

This suggests that nuclear plants may lack preparedness for a large-scale cyber security emergency, particularly if one were to occur outside normal working hours.

Technical challenges

Many industrial control systems are ‘insecure by design’, since cyber security measures were not designed in from the beginning.

Standard IT solutions such as patching are difficult to implement at nuclear facilities, mainly owing to concern that patches could break a system and because of the commercial need to reduce plant downtime.

Supply chain vulnerabilities mean that equipment used at a nuclear facility risks compromise at any stage.

The report’s recommendations include:

· Developing guidelines to measure cyber security risk in the nuclear industry, including an integrated risk assessment that takes both security and safety measures into account.

· Engaging in robust dialogue with engineers and contractors to raise awareness of the cyber security risk, including the dangers of setting up unauthorized internet connections.

· Implementing rules, where not already in place, to promote good IT hygiene in nuclear facilities (for example to forbid the use of personal devices) and enforcing rules where they do exist.

· Improving disclosure by encouraging anonymous information sharing and the establishment of industrial CERTs (Computer Emergency Response Team).

· Encouraging universal adoption of regulatory standards.

 

This article is published in collaboration with Chatham House.

Originally written for the World Economic Forum


Tecnología de la información (programas) | 2018-08-17

National Car Rental Brand’s Upgraded Technology Delivering Even Greater Innovation and Service

Enterprise Holdings | National Car Rental announced today at the 2018 Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) convention that it is launching a newly designed website with a powerful platform designed to be even more mobile friendly, innovative and accessible for "road warriors" and other frequent travelers.


Tecnología de la información (programas) | 2018-08-06

PSL se consolida como el mejor desarrollador de software en América Latina

PSL | PSL ha logrado el título distintivo "Mejor compañía de desarrollo de software a la medida" en América Latina. El ranking, calculado por Clutch.co, una firma de investigación de mercado impulsada por datos B2B, es evidencia del compromiso continuo de PSL para ofrecer soluciones tecnológicas de vanguardia a clientes de renombre mundial.


Tecnología de la información (programas) | 2018-08-03

Vuelve a Colombia TecnoMultimedia InfoComm La feria que reúne todos los avances y los aportes académicos del futuro tecnológico audiovisual profesional

TecnoMultimedia InfoComm | TecnoMultimedia InfoComm Colombia, la feria y congreso de tecnología audiovisual profesional, automatización e integración de redes, voz y datos, llega a su novena edición en Colombia.


Tecnología de la información (programas) | 2018-08-02

Zendesk lanza integración con WhatsApp Business Solution

Zendesk | Zendesk, Inc. (NYSE: ZEN), líder global en atención al cliente y customer experience, anunció hoy una nueva integración con WhatsApp, que permite a las empresas manejar las interacciones del servicio de atención al cliente y conectar con dichos clientes directamente en WhatsApp. Esta nueva incorporación conecta las conversaciones entre las compañías y sus clientes en Whatsapp a la plataforma de Zendesk.


Tecnología de la información (programas) | 2018-07-11

La imaginación del futuro pertenece a la inteligencia artificial

Blogthinkbig Telefónica | La inteligencia artificial de Google, DeepMind, ahora ya tiene imaginación. Y es capaz de imaginar mundos en 3D, y de recorrerlos, a partir de una simple foto en 2D.


Tecnología de la información (programas) | 2018-07-09

Inteligencia artificial para ahorrar agua en los regadíos

SINC | Un grupo de investigación de la Universidad de Córdoba ha desarrollado un modelo basado en técnicas de inteligencia artificial que es capaz de predecir cuánta agua usará cada regante. El sistema emplea algoritmos y redes neuronales para ayudar a una planificación más organizada de los suministros.


Siganos en redes sociales

Empresas Destacadas

Destacados

Explorar noticias por categoría


Noticias más leídas


Gestión y administración | 2012-08-23

El corazón de la Uniagustiniana está de fiesta

UNIAGUSTINIANA | La Universitaria Agustiniana celebra durante una semana el legado espiritual, académico y misional que dejó San Agustín.


Transporte y almacenamiento | 2018-08-23

Aviones del futuro

Evonik PLEXIGLAS | Con los nuevos taxis aéreos autónomos y los aviones panorámicos, la aeronáutica está experimentando un cambio decisivo, lo que también conlleva un cambio en los requisitos de los materiales utilizados en ese sector. Los cristales de las ventanillas de pasajeros y de la cabina de mando podrían cumplir funciones adicionales en el futuro.


Ciencias aplicadas e interdisciplinarias - Gestión y administración - Tecnología del trabajado de los metales | 2015-05-15

Registro Calificado a la Maestría en Metalurgia y Ciencia de Materiales

Uptc | El Ministerio de Educación Nacional otorgó la renovación, por siete (7) años, del Registro Calificado al Programa de Maestría en Metalurgia y Ciencia de Materiales de la Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de Colombia, mediante la Resolución 5484 del 24 de abril de 2015.


Agricultura, agroforestería y zootecnia - Industria, agroindustria y tecnología de alimentos | 2018-04-06

Cal y nutrientes incrementan producción de cacao

Agencia de Noticias UN | Al disminuir la acidez del suelo mejoró el rendimiento de clones de cacao en Caquetá.



Entidades con suscripción institucional