The owners of a nuclear power plant based in South Korea have announced that they will conduct a series of tests to evaluate how well its networks can withstand a cyber attack.
Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co (KHNP) made the decision after hackers leaked the designs and manuals of plant equipment online. The hackers also threatened an attack against the plant if it did not cease operations by Christmas Day.
Officials in the South Korean government are taking the threat seriously. However, they are confident in the ability of KHNP and all of the nation’s other 23 atomic plants to withstand any type of attack.
Commenting on the incident, Chung Yang-ho, Deputy Energy Minister for South Korea, said, “It’s our judgment that the control system itself is designed in such a way and there is no risk whatsoever.”
Officials have also confirmed that only non-sensitive information was compromised, with no threat posed to the reactors.
Little is known about the hackers responsible for the attack. The threatening messages came from a user on Twitter who claims to be the chairman of an anti-nuclear coalition group based in Hawaii.
In addition to promising a Christmas Day attack, the hackers also threatened to release additional plant documents if KHNP does not comply.
Some suspect that the threats made against KHNP may in some way be related to recent threats made by North Korea in response to the United States’ decision to not accept its proposal for a joint probe into the Sony hack.
“Our toughest counteraction will be boldly taken against the White House, the Pentagon and the whole U.S. mainland, the cesspool of terrorism, by far surpassing the ‘symmetric counteraction’ declared by Obama,” the North Korean Commission’s Policy Department said in a statement.
The United States is currently in talks with China to determine how the two countries might work together to deter future cyber attacks from North Korea.
KHNP’s announcement comes several days after a German steel factory revealed in a report that a spear-phishing campaign had taken control of the factory’s production network, causing manufacturing equipment to fail.