Virus leaks Japanese nuclear plant data

4th July 2005 Sensitive nuclear secrets have been uploaded on to the Internet after a careless worker’s home PC became infected with a virus.

Japanese manufacturing giant Mitsubishi Electric admitted that confidential data on seven nuclear facilities was posted on the Internet after one of its workers became victim to a virus.

An employee of Mitsubishi Electric Plant Engineering unit had transferred data onto an external device to work on them on his PC at home. The 30-year-old engineer’s home PC was infected with a virus, the company told reporters, which automatically uploaded the data onto a peer-to-peer file-sharing program.

“We told our employees to strictly separate private and company information – but it was not completely practiced,” a senior executive at Mitsubishi told Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun.


Mitsubishi Electric had issued guidelines in February 2005 prohibiting employees from taking data out of the workplace without permission.

The data included details of pipes in the secondary cooling systems of nuclear power plants, as well as personal information about staff members. Mitsibushi officials said that the anti-virus software on the engineer’s computer had not been updated to combat the virus.

“If you allow your employees to put sensitive company data onto their own home computers, you are running the risk that they will not be as well defended as the PCs within your organisation,” said Graham Cluley of security vendor Sophos in a statement.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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