Critical Infrastructure on Alert

Monday, March 28, 2016 @ 04:03 PM gHale


It is really easy to get caught up in the hysteria following a terrorist attack, but what has become abundantly clear over the past few years is it really doesn’t matter where in the world you are, critical infrastructure is under the microscope and attackers are watching.

In keeping with that tenor, Belgium’s network of nuclear power plants and other major infrastructure face the threat of a cyber attack over the next five years, the European Union’s counter-terror chief said in a published report.

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“I would not be surprised if there was an attempt in the next five years to use the Internet to commit an attack,” Gilles de Kerchove told daily La Libre Belgique.

“It would take the form of entering the SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system, which is the nerve center of a nuclear power plant, a dam, air traffic control center or railroad switching station,” he said.

His concerns come as Belgium is on high alert following Tuesday’s suicide bombings at Brussels airport and aboard a metro train that killed 31 people and injured 300.

Belgium’s neighbors have raised concerns over the country’s aging nuclear plants for some time, after a series of problems ranging from leaks to cracks and an unsolved sabotage incident.

Doel 1, the country’s oldest reactor, originally ended up shuttered in February 2015 under a law calling for the country’s gradual phasing out of nuclear power, but the government then restarted it under an extension deal.

According to reports, a security guard at a Belgian nuclear power plant ended up killed Thursday and his access badge stolen. Officials were not immediately available to comment.

These reports follow the discovery by investigators last year of surveillance footage of a Belgian nuclear plant official in the flat of a suspect linked to the Brussels and Paris attacks.