Russian hackers charged with nuclear plant attack

With the president issuing a warning about Russian cyberthreats posed to U.S. infrastructure, many people think this is a new occurrence. Yes, the Colonial Pipeline attack happened in 2021. But the threats have a much longer history. In fact, the FBI just filed charges against Russian spies that launched a cyber-attack against a nuclear power plant in Kansas five years ago. Russian military officers Pavel Aleksandrovich Akulov, Mikhail Mikhailovich Gavrilov and Marat Valeryevich Tyukov are charged with conspiracy, computer fraud, wire fraud and identity theft. They work for the Federal Security Service (FSB).

"Russian state-sponsored hackers pose a serious and persistent threat to critical infrastructure both in the United States and around the world. Although the criminal charges unsealed today reflect past activity, they make crystal clear the urgent ongoing need for American businesses to harden their defenses and remain vigilant,” said an FBI press release.

The most prominent target was the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation in Burlington, Kansas. But their actions date back as early as 2012 and were aimed at enabling Russian to disrupt systems and cause damage to infrastructure. This includes taking control of power generation control systems.