Found: Computer Viruses at a Nuclear Plant - Atlas Obscura
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Found: Computer Viruses at a Nuclear Plant

Let’s stay calm.

The Gundremmingen nuclear power plant in Germany. (Photo: Felix König/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Viruses were found on computers at the Gundremmingen nuclear power plant in Germany, officials said Tuesday.

But there appears to have been no real security threat, the plant’s operators claim. 

That’s because the plant isn’t connected to the internet. 

What would have happened had it been connected? A lot of stolen files, most likely. But at least one of the viruses, known as W32.Ramnit, could have also given a hacker remote control over an infected computer, if that computer was connected to the internet, according to Reuters.

The plant is sequestered from the web, however, making such an attack impossible, officials said. 

The viruses appeared to have been introduced into plant computers though data drives like removable USB flash drives, 18 of which were found to be infected. 

Germany has been moving away from using nuclear power for years; the viruses probably offered further reason to do so. Another reason? The nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, which marked its 30th anniversary on Tuesday. The country hopes to be nuclear-free by 2022