Early this week it was noted that a computer virus had been employed to infect a German nuclear power plant. Subsequent revelations that ISIS operatives targeted a nuclear plant in Belgium around the time of a coordinated suicide bomber attack that killed 31 people, Europe was on notification.
But that evidently wasn’t enough, as Reuters currently verifies that it was, in truth, multiple viruses that affected the German systems. But as Zero Hedge records, Reuters was quick to suggest that there “appeared” to be no threat to the public:
Don’t worry, Reuters is quick to calm a concerned public, “they appear not to have posed a threat to the facility’s operations because it is isolated from the Internet, the station’s operator said on Tuesday.” The Gundremmingen plant in question is located about 120 km (75 miles) northwest of Munich, is run by the German utility RWE.
The viruses, which include “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.
Just like in the case of Iran where USB sticks were used to infect the local nuclear facility, Reuters reports that malware was also found on 18 removable data drives, mainly USB sticks, in office computers maintained separately from the plant’s operating systems. RWE said it had increased cyber-security measures as a result.
W32.Ramnit is designed to steal files from infected computers and targets Microsoft Windows software, according to the security firm Symantec. First discovered in 2010, it is distributed through data sticks, among other methods, and is intended to give an attacker remote control over a system when it is connected to the Internet.
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, Symantec said.
For now it remains unclear who is behind this latest viral attack.
The strike on the German power plant, had it not been found, might have been such that an attacker may have taken control of the systems that transfer highly radiated nuclear fuel rods. What we understand from the Japanese Fukushima catastrophe is that had said systems been taken over, they might have left an entire region of Germany unlivable and thousands of people dead or poisoned with radiation.
More and more often we are witnessing critical infrastructure systems compromised by hackers, terrorists or state-sponsored operatives. And it is not just restricted to Europe.
In 2011 it was documented that a cyber attacker compromised the water supply systems at an Illinois facility and in fact took control of water pump systems. One can not help but consider such an attack could have also been utilized to infuse the water with dangerous chemicals.
In that same year, General Keith Alexander, head of U.S. cyber command, cautioned that cyber attacks are these days targeting domestic infrastructure, commerce and transportation systems, and that at some point one of these could cause serious harm to the United States.
But if you thought five years was enough time for U.S. cyber security professionals to secure susceptible nodes of the grid, you may be astonished to learn that the head of the National Security Agency this year stated that a major attack is not only a high probability event, but almost certain. Admiral Michael Rogers believed that such a disaster was “a matter of when, not if.”
Terrorists are most definitely targeting the systems that make life in America possible and given the lack of security not just on the internet, but the real world (our Southern border comes to mind), it is quite likely that we will at some point discover a major attack that threatens our way of life.
Coupled with the genuine possibility that Weapons of Mass Destruction that may include things like chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear have been smuggled into the United States, preparing contingency plans would be in order.
Here’s a shoeta short guide with some basic supplies in the event of such a CBRN attack:
Aside from the common things like food, water, tools, weapons, and medical supplies, you will almost certainly require the following:
Gas mask with filter precisely created for radioactive materials
Hand crank radio for weather notifications
Potassium iodide for thyroid health
Zeolite, bentonite clay, and activated charcoal for decontamination (purchase food grade editions for detoxing the body)
Chlorella or spirulina for detoxing your body
You’ll discover that everything on this checklist will also be useful for other situations like nuclear war and dirty bomb attacks. Truth be told there are a multitude of techniques that you or family could face a radioactive hazard, but with the right mindset, gear, and supplies, you will survive even the worst of nuclear disasters.