German nuclear plant has computer viruses

A nuclear power plant in Germany is infected with computer viruses, but they are not a threat to the facility’s operation, because it is isolated from the internet, the station’s operator said.

The Gundremmingen plant, 120 km (75 miles) northwest of Munich, is run by the German utility, RWE.

The viruses, which include ‘W32.Ramnit’ and ‘Conficker’, were discovered at Gundremmingen’s B unit, in a computer system retrofitted in 2008 with data visualisation-software associated with equipment for moving nuclear fuel rods, RWE said.

Malware was also found on 18 removable data drives, mainly USB sticks, in office computers maintained separately from the plant’s operating systems.

RWE said it had increased cyber-security measures, as a result.

W32.Ramnit is designed to steal files from infected computers, and it targets Microsoft Windows software, according to the security firm, Symantec.

First discovered in 2010, it is distributed through data sticks, among other methods, and gives an attacker remote control over a system connected to the internet. Conficker has infected millions of Windows computers worldwide.


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