UK Government Addresses Allegations Of A Cyberattack On Nuclear Site

Tyler Cross
Tyler Cross Senior Writer
Tyler Cross Tyler Cross Senior Writer

Recently, rumors about a cyberattack on the Sellafield Nuclear sent waves through Britain. The UK Government is directly refuting the claims. According to the British Government, no attack was made on the nuclear site.

A successful cyber attack on a nuclear site can have massive implications and put civilian lives in danger. Problems resulting from malware could range from a simple data breach to a wide-scale system failure.

The rumors came from The Guardian, which released the information as part of its “Nuclear Leaks” report. The newspaper explains that in 2015, a group of unnamed hackers infected the site with sleeper malware — this malware supposedly lays dormant within the systems and may allow hackers access to confidential information.

As the name implies, sleeper malware lingers on someone’s device and attacks them by surprise whenever the hackers are ready to initiate further attacks.

The Guardian cites the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) directly, which has since confirmed that the Sellafield site failed to meet modern cybersecurity requirements. They placed the site under “significantly enhanced attention.”

However, while the ONR has raised criticisms of the nuclear field, their spokesperson did deny any evidence that a cyber attack was successful.

While it’s completely possible that there was an attack, multiple official sources, including the source that The Guardian cites, have gone on record stating there is no current evidence of an incident.

“The hack was one of a series of cyber issues at the site, and was covered up by senior managers,” reads The Guardian. They also explain that the ONR placed the site under “significantly enhanced attention.”

Spokespeople for Sellafield went on record to defend themselves, stating that this period of enhanced attention was already coming to a close.

“As a result of the progress we’ve made, we have an agreed route to step down from ‘significantly enhanced’ regulation,” the company states.

“Our monitoring systems are robust and we have a high degree of confidence that no such malware exists on our system,” Sellafield Nuclear said to Reuters.

About the Author
Tyler Cross
Tyler Cross
Senior Writer

About the Author

Tyler is a writer at SafetyDetectives with a passion for researching all things tech and cybersecurity. Prior to joining the SafetyDetectives team, he worked with cybersecurity products hands-on for more than five years, including password managers, antiviruses, and VPNs and learned everything about their use cases and function. When he isn't working as a "SafetyDetective", he enjoys studying history, researching investment opportunities, writing novels, and playing Dungeons and Dragons with friends."