McAfee, Westinghouse set security pact for nuclear plants

NEW YORK, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Westinghouse Electric Co, a unit of Japan's Toshiba Corp, will rely on Intel Corp's McAfee unit to prevent network intrusions into nuclear power plants that it builds, the two companies said on Wednesday.

Westinghouse, a supplier of nuclear power plants, will integrate security components into its control systems in both currently operating plants and new ones under construction that will enable it to detect and prevent attacks.

The move extends Westinghouse's ability to maintain cyber security for digital control systems, and comes in response to concerns about threats to plant control systems, the companies said.

The nuclear energy industry introduced a cyber security program after the Sept. 11 2001 attacks. By 2008, all 104 operating nuclear power plants in the United States implemented regulatory guidelines, which called for protections against computer viruses, worms and associated computer programs.

The Westinghouse-McAfee agreement comes two weeks after U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called for steps to bolster U.S. cyber defenses.

He said that an August cyber attack on Saudi Arabia's state oil company, Saudi Aramco, crippled some 30,000 computers, which probably made it the most destructive attack the private sector has seen to date.