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Germany: Nuclear Plant Attacked by Virus

Computer viruses have infected PCs used at a German nuclear energy plant.

The viruses were found on the workplace computers & in a system that was used to model the movement of nuclear fuel rods.

Power firm RWE had said that the infection posed  no threat to the plant because its management systems weren’t joined to the web, therefore the viruses couldn’t activate.

German federal cyber investigators are currently analyzing how the Gundremmingen plant became infected.

The viruses were found on the fuel rod modelling system and on eighteen USB sticks used as removable information stores on the workplace computers.

Staff found the viruses as they get ready to upgrade the computerized control systems for the plant’s Block B that is presently not manufacturing power whereas it undergoes maintenance.

More than one thousand computers have currently been checked for infection and are getting cleaned  up, an RWE spokesperson told newspaper Die Zeit. The plant has conjointly improved its security controls.

No system directly committed the management of the nuclear reactors was infected, RWE said, and there was no danger to the general public as a results of the infection.

“All sensitive plant areas are decoupled and designed with redundancy and guarded against manipulation,” added RWE in a statement.

Among the viruses were 2 well-known malicious programs – Conficker & W32.Ramnit.

Ramnit debuted in 2010 and could be a remote access tool that its creators use to steal the data. Conficker dates from 2008 and aims to grab login names and monetary information.

RWE said that because the infected systems were isolated from cyber web, neither Ramnit nor Conficker were able to activate and steal the knowledge.

Mikko Hypponen, chief analysis officer at F-Secure, also mentioned that viruses typically infected the power plants & different chunks of a nation’s crucial infrastructure but such compromises did a very little harm.

“The most typical viruses spread without a lot of awareness of where they’re,” added Mr. Hypponen

Gundremmingen is about 120km north west of Munich and therefore the plant is Gemany’s highest output power plant.