Nuclear Regulation Authority shut down email systems after a cyber attack

Pierluigi Paganini November 01, 2020

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) issued a warning of temporary suspension of its email systems, likely caused by a cyber attack.

The Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) temporarily suspended its email systems, the interruption is likely caused by a cyber attack.

The agency published a warning on its website, it is asking people to contact it via phone or fax because it is unable to receive emails from the outside world.

“From 17:00 on October 27, 2nd year of Reiwa, sending and receiving e-mails with the Nuclear Regulation Authority has been temporarily suspended. As a result, we are unable to accept e-mail registrations for applications for general hearings such as the Nuclear Regulation Authority and review meetings.” reads the message published by the NRA on its website. “If you would like to hear, please register by phone or fax.”

The email systems at the authorities were disabled earlier this week and the authority has launched an investigation into the incident. According to the media, there’s no impact on operations of Japanese nuclear plants.

U.S. government is warning of a North Korea-linked APT group that has targeted the U.S., South Korea and Japan to gather intelligence on nuclear policy and sanctions.

Japanese media reported that an unknown external party managed to gain unauthorized access to the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s networks.

“On the 26th, Deputy Secretary of State Okada said at a press conference that there was an unauthorized access to the network system of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, which seems to be an attack from the outside, and the fact of information leakage to the outside has not been confirmed at this time I made it clear.” reported the NHK website.

At the time of publishing this post, the agency did not provide any official statement on the incident.

Even in case of a security breach, the threat actor had not access to information related to the security measures implemented in the nuclear plants in the country, because this information is stored in a separate air-gapped network, Deputy Secretary of State Katsuya Okada explained.

“At this point, the fact of information leakage to the outside, including sensitive information, has not been confirmed. Information on nuclear security is managed by an independent system that is not connected to the outside. This means that there is no information leakage.” Deputy Secretary-General Okada said.

“After that, he said, “We have received reports that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is continuing to investigate in collaboration with the Cabinet Cyber ​​Security Center, etc.” and expressed his intention to proceed with the analysis of the cause and to thoroughly prevent recurrence.”

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Nuclear Regulation Authority)

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