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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 24th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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WTF? A nuclear plant on the Net?

4 April 2017

Yesterday's news carried the story that a terror alert had been issued in the UK due to fears that there was a credible "cyber threat" against nuclear power stations.

Excuse me?

What the?

What idiot would allow *any* form of connection between the critical systems of a nuclear power plant and the internet?

Seriously?

Either someone needs a whack upside the head with a clue-stick (four-by-clue size) or, once again, the bureaucrats and media are engaging in more hysteria (otherwise known as fake-news).

Which is it?

Whoever is responsible needs a damned good talking to -- or worse!

Given the stakes involved and the fallibility of people and programs, it makes no sense at all to allow any kind of connectivity between the mission-critical systems control computers in a nuclear power station and the unsanitised world of the Net.

Forget VPNs, forget tunneling, forget firewalls -- any of these could contain zero day flaws that would allow evil little sods or foreign agencies to get through and wreak havoc.

The only way to preserve the safety and integrity of these systems is to have them physically and electrically isolated from any publicly accessible network.

Even that isn't going to be a 100% guarantee -- but it goes a hell of a long way to reducing the level of risk involved.

So what's really going on here?

Why are our headlines increasingly filled with hysterical claims by bureaucrats, civil servants and ignorant politicians?

If, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, they're not bitching about how risky it is to have people flying drones, they're telling us that we risk a nuclear meltdown because some terror group will be able to log in and pull out all the rods at your favourite fission reactor and make it go critical.

If I was in the UK, I'd be calling for a very public inquiry to find out whether the problem is with the systems designers who'd allow such connectivity or with the dim-bulb public servants and media who can't tell their arse from their elbow.

They say that truth is the first victim of war -- so I guess we really are involved in a "war against terror" because we just don't know what the hell is *really* going on.

News Story link: Britain's nuclear power stations on terror alert as cyber threat intensifies (Stuff)

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