- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Hackers are actively targeting nuclear facilities in the United States, Energy Secretary Rick Perry said, and federal authorities “are doing everything possible” to protect the nation’s power grid.

The threat of nuclear facilities facing cyberattacks “is real, it’s ongoing and we shouldn’t be surprised when you think of the world we live in today,” Mr. Perry  told Fox Business Network Tuesday.

“These different groups, they may be state-sponsored, they may just be people who are criminal elements involved with trying to penetrate into certain areas,” the former Republican presidential hopeful said.

“The good news,” Mr. Perry said, is that the Department of Energy has “substantial resources” at its disposal to defend against cyberattacks.

“I want to give people comfort that this isn’t something that’s just come out of the woodwork here lately,” he said. “I want Americans to feel very comfortable we are doing everything possible to protect their information, but more importantly to protect the electrical grid from those that would try to penetrate in and do harm or do mischief.”

The energy secretary’s comments this week come on the heels of a joint-report issued by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security late last month after hackers allegedly breached a dozen U.S. power plants, including a non-critical computer systems used by the Wolf Creek nuclear facility in Kansas.

The FBI and DHS acknowledged the incidents in a statement last week but said “any potential impact appears to be limited to administrative and business networks.

While Mr. Perry said the perpetrators could be either state-sponsored cybercriminals or hackers unaffiliated with any government, preliminary reports have pointed to the former. The Washington Post and NBC News eachreported last week that U.S. officials familiar with the matter say authorities suspect Russia actors are behind the string of attempted cyber intrusions. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov subsequently rejected the claims as “anonymous fakes.”

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