Sellafield Nuclear Facility’s Operator Refutes Allegations of Hacking

Sellafield Ltd, the organization responsible for decommissioning the Sellafield facility in Cumbria, has denied allegations of IT network breaches by Chinese and Russian threat actors using sleeper malware. The Guardian newspaper published a report accusing senior management of covering up these intrusions, which allegedly began in 2015. The report also mentioned concerns about insecure servers, contractors using USB sticks, and a BBC camera crew inadvertently broadcasting user credentials. Sellafield Ltd spokesperson stated that there is no evidence of successful state-sponsored attacks on their networks and that they take cybersecurity seriously. However, previous evidence of cyber intrusions has been reported, including a data breach ruling by the Information Commissioner’s Office in 2021, although these incidents were not related to critical facility information. Sellafield’s local authority, Cumberland Council, is also uncertain about potential data compromises, and the Office for Nuclear Regulation is preparing to prosecute some individuals at Sellafield. Fergal Lyons, a threat intelligence specialist, expressed concern over the security oversight at Sellafield and the need for a re-evaluation of defensive strategies in the face of increasing cyber threats. Gerasim Hovhannisyan, CEO of EasyDMARC, criticized the lack of priority given to cybersecurity at both local and national levels and emphasized the importance of immediate incident response and a clear incident response plan, particularly for critical infrastructure.

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