Malware in NPCIL system isolated; Kudankulam plant safe: DAE
31 October 2019
Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) on Wednesday clarified that the reports of detection of malware in Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited’s (NPCIL) system is correct and that the matter has been brought to the notice of the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) on 4 September.
A malware was detected in a personal computer at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant (KKNPP) in Tamil Nadu. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL), under the department of atomic energy (DAE), on Wednesday said “identification of malware in NPCIL system is correct” but clarified that the malware “did not affect the critical system” of the facility.
Malware is a software intentionally designed to cause damage to a computer, server, client or computer network.
At the same time, NPCL continued to deny there was any cyber attack on the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP).’’
On Tuesday, R Ramdoss, Training Superintendent & Information Officer, in a statement clarified that 'Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project was not subject to cyber attack.' The clarification came after the social media was agog with rumors of a cyber attack.
"This is to clarify KNPP and other Indian Nuclear Power Plants Control Systems are stand alone and not connected to outside cyber network and Internet. Any cyber attack on the Nuclear Power Plant Control System is not possible. The KNPP units 1 and 2 are operating at 1,000 MW and 600 MW respectively without any operation or safety concerns," he said.
"Identification of a ‘malware in NPCIL system is correct. The matter was conveyed by CERT-In (Computer Emergency Response Team) - an expert group that handles computer security incidents - when it was noticed by them on September 4, 2019," said a press release by AK Nema, AD(CP&CC) & Appellate Authority, NPCIL.
Investigation by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) specialists revealed that the infected PC belonged to a user who was connected to the internet connected network used for administrative purposes. This has since been isolated from the critical internal network.
Investigation also confirmed that the plant systems are not affected, DAE said, adding that the networks are being continuously monitored.