Ageing infrastructure and over-adherence to technology may lead to massive database hacking on nuclear companies across the globe, says London-based independent policy group Chatham House.
In its latest report on cyber security, the institute revealed that cyber vulnerability’s full extent is not wholly realized in most nuclear facilities in the world. Most of them think that they are safe from outside-world breach since nuclear facilities are typically given higher security than other government and private facilities.
“The conventional belief that all nuclear facilities are ‘air gapped’ (isolated from the public Internet) is a myth. The commercial benefits of Internet connectivity mean that a number of nuclear facilities now have VPN connections installed, which facility operators are sometimes unaware of,” the report said.
Patricia Lewis, research director of Chatham House's international security program, also pinpointed that the nuclear industry is just beginning and “still struggling to come to grips with this new, insidious threat." Thus, companies and governments themselves are expected to up their game in enhancing their security measures.
"Staff responsible for nuclear security should know how to repel cyber-attacks and to limit the damage if systems are actually penetrated," Yukiya Amano, director of the IAEA, told the delegates at the recently concluded International Atomic Energy Agency conference. It is a must, he advised, especially now that there have been targeted and random attacks directed at nuclear plants in the past years despite advancements in nuclear digitalization.
Chatham house also suggested that the nuclear segment has always been a preferred target by hackers as most nuclear facilities are linked with any government’s military force, add to this the fact that the nuclear market in general is a continuously growing segment.
On the global nuclear market
The global nuclear market, which is comprised by private and public firms and spearheaded by USA, Russia, and China, is expected to generate $300 billion in revenue by 2030.
The U.S. Department of Commerce, however, thinks that the global market for nuclear power technology will reach $740 billion in 2025. This is because smaller and developing economies like India and Brazil have now jumped on the nuclear bandwagon.
It also revealed that the US market’s edge over competitors from Russia and China is its exports of high-quality products and expertise in setting international industry standards for nuclear power safety and security.
The United States is also home to smaller but highly innovative technological firms. Among which is Thunder Energies Corporation (OTCQB: TNRG), a company that has been on the spotlight anew recently for its antimatter detecting telescope. The US-based company has been a key figure in introducing groundbreaking nuclear instruments in the global market. It is also a pioneer in fossil fuels combustion technology, which does not use harmful elements such as carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon, making it among the few environment-friendly combusting equipment on the market.
But the expanding global market seems to revolve around Russia, said Christine Todd Whitman and Stephen Cheney of Fortune.
“Beyond Europe, nations like Argentina, Pakistan, Vietnam and South Africa are building or looking to build nuclear power facilities. For many nations, current international market conditions drive partnerships with Russian suppliers,” they said. The two added that competition with Russia will remain an issue for Asian and European nations that are in pursuit of nuclear power in lieu of expensive traditional power source.
Indeed, Putin is serious in making Russia a nuclear refuge of all countries that need it. He recently reminded his government to actively participate in the implementation of various nuclear-related projects and strengthen its position in the global nuclear market by looking at potential mergers and partnerships with different countries.