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Spanish police arrest two hackers for cyberattacks on country’s radiation warning network

Spanish police have announced the arrest of two hackers they believe are responsible for cyberattacks on the country's Radiation Alerting Network (Red de Alerta a la Radioactividad, RAR), seen from March to June 2021. The two arrested are former employees of a company that the network operator, the Dirección General de Protección Civil y Emergencias (DGPCE), hired to service it, allowing them to have a good knowledge of its operation and how to conduct an effective cyber attack, police said.

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Spain operates seven nuclear reactors at six power plants in Cáceres, Tarragona, Valencia, Guadalajara, Salamanca and Cordoba. The role of the RAR system is to detect sudden bursts of radioactivity and raise an alarm, which allows the authorities to take protective measures in time, detect and eliminate the problem.

The RAR is made up of 800 gamma ray sensors located at specific locations across the country, each connected via a telephone line to a control center at DGPCE headquarters. The police explain that the two arrested persons obtained illegal access to the DGPCE internal network and tried to delete the RAR application in the control center. In parallel, the duo destroyed 300 of the 800 sensors scattered across Spain, severing their connection to the control center and disrupting communications.

Cyber ​​sabotage against RAR came to an end in June 2021 when the authorities discovered the breach and launched an investigation with the help of the National Police's cybercrime unit. It took a year to find the culprits.

The police explained that they analyzed the data related to the intrusion into the system and linked it to a source in the center of Madrid. During a police operation in Madrid and San Agustín del Guadalix, two houses and one company were searched; the police found "numerous computers and communication devices related to the facts of violations."

No further details are provided in the police statement, and the purpose of the cyberattacks remains unclear.

Michael Zippo
2022/07/28

https://linkedin.com/in/michael-zippo-9136441b1
[email protected]

Sources: Python.Engineering

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