If you think attacking civilian infrastructure is a war crime, you’d be right, but spies from countries around the world are fighting a silent, dirty war to pre-position themselves on civilian infrastructure — like energy-producing civilian nuclear plants — to be able to commit sabotage during a moment of geopolitical tension.
What follows is an explanation of how India’s Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) got hacked — and how it could have been easily avoided.
The KNPP hack
The news came to light, as it so often does these days, on Twitter. Pukhraj Singh (@RungRage), a “noted cyber intelligence specialist” who was “instrumental in setting up of the cyber-warfare operations centre of the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO),” according to The New Indian Express, tweeted: “So, it’s public now. Domain controller-level access Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. The government was notified way back. Extremely mission-critical targets were hit,” noting in a quote tweet that he was aware of the attack as early as September 7, 2019, calling it a “causus belli” (an attack sufficiently grave to provoke a war).