In modern life, the ensuring cyber security has become a global priority. According to the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), cyber incidents are becoming more complex, with an increasing number of cyber attacks against critical information infrastructures. Ensuring cyber security and applying the highest security measures at the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (hereinafter – INPP) is a strategically important area.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, most Lithuanian companies started organizing their work remotely. As a result, the number of cyber threats has increased significantly in 2020, with incidents in cyber space being detected on a daily basis, and more and more diverse sophisticated attacks being carried out (e.g., the widely publicized cyber attack on CityBee in Lithuania, and the attack on the National Centre for Public Health, etc.). The INPP wasn't the exception – 6,532 cyber incidents (port scanning, security vulnerabilities searching, bruteforce attacks, spreading of various types of malware, spreading of spam and phishing emails, attempts to get login credentials, etc.) were detected by the INPP security means in 2019, and the more cyber incidents – 12,113 were detected in 2020, which is an increase of 85% over the number detected in 2019.
In order to combat these negative incidents, a Cyber Security Group was established at INPP in 2017, whose specialists work closely with the NCSC: the reports on cyber incidents are provided, and cooperation in the investigation of possible cyber incidents is assured. Every year, INPP participates in the national cyber security exercise “Cyber Shield”, organized by the NCSC, which develops the practical cyber security skills of the personnel and provides an opportunity to test cyber incident management procedures.
“During the pandemic, we have to pay special attention to ensuring the cyber security of our enterprise, therefore the work of the Cyber Security Group specialists is a continuous process. We need to ensure the safety and quality of the work of over 500 colleagues, who are working remotely. To prevent cyber incidents that could bring industrial processes to a standstill (e.g., radioactive waste management, radiation safety monitoring, etc.), we ensure the cyber security of industrial process management systems. We monitor cyber space, search for security vulnerabilities in the enterprise’s IT infrastructure, provide recommendations for their elimination, detect various cyber threats, assess risks, react promptly to potential cyber incidents and take immediate counter measures. Organizational and technical measures are being implemented to strengthen the enterprise’s cyber immunity. One of the most important factors in ensuring cyber security – the user of IT resources, who not only fully adheres to the established cyber security behaviour standards, but also has an understanding of potential cyber threats, and is aware of how to identify them and how to behave in suspicious situations. Therefore, the enterprise continuously educates its employees on cyber security issues: recommendations are published in newsletters, cyber security memos are distributed via email, and consultations are provided by email or telephone,” said Aleksandr Minič, the Head of the INPP Cyber Security Group, listing the important activities carried out.
The rapid development of innovations in the IT field requires the specialists of the Cyber Security Group to improve their professional knowledge and raise the level of competence not only through training, but also by working a lot independently. The activities carried out by the Cyber Security Group are specific, require strict responsibility and at the same time are unique.
It is anticipated that in the future the number of cyber threats will only increase, and cyber attacks themselves will become even more complex, resulting in a corresponding increase in the number of organizational and technical measures implemented at INPP to ensure cyber security, detecting and preventing malicious activities. This will require even more knowledge and appropriate training in the field of cyber security from INPP specialists.
An associative photo from the gallery of BMC Software is used for the article.