Duke Energy responds to threats of power plant hackers - | WBTV Charlotte

Duke Energy responds to threats of power plant hackers

(Source: WBTV/File) (Source: WBTV/File)

Duke Energy is responding after the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a joint statement about cyber attacks on America's nuclear power plants.

"The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are aware of a potential cyber intrusion affecting entities in the energy sector," a spokesperson for Duke Energy said. "There is no indication of a threat to public safety, as any potential impact appears to be limited to administrative and business networks."

Reports show a power plant in Kansas run by the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation was targeted. Officials would not say if they were attacked but says no "operations systems" were affected. Officials say these type of attacks have been intensifying since May.

RELATED: FBI and DHS issue warning about potential cyber attacks on U.S. nuclear plants

Duke Energy is taking no chances. Officials there say they continuously monitor for cyber security threats and review their standards. Duke Energy released a statement Friday:

Like our industry peers and partners, Duke Energy takes all threats to our assets seriously. We have robust plans in place to identify and address any issues related to our facilities. We work with many federal and regional agencies that promote sharing of information regarding cyber security. The nuclear industry works closely with the FBI, Homeland Security and others in monitoring and responding to these issues.

Cyber Security Expert Mike Holland says these threats should not come as a surprise.

"Unfortunately we live in a world where, yes, the United States is a target," he said.

Holland believes that in order to keep people safe, there needs to be a lot of awareness and training at the power plants.

"Make sure that no one in the organization falls asleep at the wheel and accidentally clicks on an email that they shouldn't," Holland said. "But even so, they've got programs in place that capture the bad guys before they do harm."

Officials say so far there's no sign of a public threat, but they will apply lessons learned from recent attacks in Ukraine to help beef up security measures. Holland believes in addition to trying to embarrass the United States, hackers have other reasons to commit the crime.

"Espionage tends to be a popular one," Holland said. "Certainly financial gain, and when you steal credit card numbers or passwords - those get sold for monetary gain."

If Duke Energy is hacked, it has to report it to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which would be a public notification.

To see a 10-mile radius map from the Catawba Nuclear Station, click here

To see a 10-mile radius map from the McGuire Nuclear Plant, click here.

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