The Idaho National Laboratory (INL), a key U.S. nuclear research facility, suffered a data breach exposing the personal information of thousands of employees, the lab confirmed this week. The attack was carried out by a hacktivist group calling itself “SiegedSec.”
SiegedSec announced the hack on Monday via hacking forums and a group-run Telegram channel. ReadWrite independently reviewed the announcement, but it could not be shared due to the illegal nature of its content. The hacker group claimed to have breached INL servers and obtained data on “hundreds of thousands” of INL employees, system users, and even private citizens. The announcement reads:
“Come stop us FBI”
The compromised data includes full names, dates of birth, email addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, home addresses, employment details, and more. SiegedSec shared screenshots of internal INL tools, indicating broad access to the lab’s systems.
While no nuclear research or operational data was leaked, the hack grants insight into INL’s cybersecurity posture.
As a critical site for nuclear R&D across advanced reactors, waste processing, and national security, protecting INL’s data is paramount. INL spokesperson Lori McNamara confirmed the breach, stating that the lab is investigating the incident depth and working with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.
This attack comes on the heels of recent SiegedSec hacks targeting NATO and Atlassian. The group has a history of leaking stolen data openly to spur chaos and demand change from large institutions. Their brazen methodology stands apart from traditional cybercriminals motivated by financial gain.
By targeting a nuclear facility, SiegedSec ensures greater law enforcement scrutiny of its activities. INL and partners will likely prioritize identifying the hackers and preventing further compromises. Still, significant questions remain regarding the initial avenue of attack and preventative measures INL can take to avoid repeats of this breach. In the meanwhile, SiegedSec keeps its irreverent nature and concludes its announcement with:
“Do drugs kids, it makes you a better hacker.”
Featured Image Credit: Mikhail Nilov; Pexels; Thank you!