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Hackers Take Down Russian Nuclear Power Websites

Attacks play off of rumors of nuclear accident and prevent customers from checking online radiation reports in their area

Hackers brought down most of Russia’s nuclear power Websites last week amid rumors of a nuclear accident at a Leningrad plant, preventing users from checking local radiation reports, according to a report on the Russian News and Information Agency Novosti Website.

Several online forums last week reportedly posted false reports of radioactive emissions coming from the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant and of evacuation plans for nearby residents. Officials said the rumors and the attacks were coordinated. "People who stand to lose out from the Russian nuclear power industry's development have an incentive to spread false rumors of an accident at the nuclear plant," a spokesperson for the Rosastam state nuclear corporation said in the report.

“This was a planned action by hackers, which has brought down almost all sites providing access to the Automatic Radiation Environment Control System (ASKRO), including the Leningrad NPP site, the rosatom.ru site, and others. For several hours users were unable to reach the sites and obtain reliable information on the situation at the plant," the spokesperson said.

ASKRO, a real-time system available on several Russian nuclear sites, provides information to the public on radiation security as well as other safety data, according to the report. The system is now back up and running after the apparent denial-of-service attacks.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

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