PNNL Attacked; Web Site Shut Down

Wednesday, July 6, 2011 @ 04:07 PM gHale

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) was the target of a highly sophisticated cyber attack which forced the lab to shut down its web site and block incoming email, officials said.

As a precaution, employees of the Department of Energy national lab in Richland, WA, also stopped sending emails to addresses outside the lab or using the Internet, said lab spokesman Greg Koller.

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PNNL evidently was not the primary target of last week’s attack, but it passed on to the lab, Koller said. The corporate offices of Battelle, which operates the Richland lab, and at least one other national lab also were under cyber attack.

No classified information at PNNL suffered compromise, Koller said.

The lab’s website,, was back up Friday evening, but its external email service will not start back up until PNNL staff have fully diagnosed what happened and added any needed security patch, Koller said.

Cyber attacks are common at the lab, with 4 million attacks on its external computer network every day, Koller said.

“Most are simple to detect and defend against, but this one was much more sophisticated,” he said.

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