Cyberattacks on nuclear weapons 'could lead to inadvertent missile launches'

The US Plans To Loosen Rules On When It Can Use Nukes, So Seeya Later Y'All

Nuclear strikes could be launched by mistake because aging or unsophisticated weapons systems are vulnerable to cyber attacks, an worldwide relations think tank warned Thursday. It included neutralising communications - sowing doubt in the minds of world leaders and commanders ahead of a strike, attacking telemetry data to affect where missiles strike, and sabotaging "pre-launch targeting information". "Moreover, a system, that is compromised can not be trusted in decision-making".

The findings also highlight reports the USA may have infiltrated parts of North Korea's missile systems in 2016, resulting in test failures.

"Nuclear weapons systems were developed before the advancement of computer technology and little consideration was given to potential cyber vulnerabilities".

Trump reportedly responded to a chart about the reduction in US nuclear weapons since the Cold War by hoping for a ten-fold increase in the stockpile, though he called the reporting from NBC "pure fiction".

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"After all, it is the public that will pay the ultimate price for complacency regarding cyber-security of nuclear weapons systems", it adds.

Some of the known methods that would affect the decision-making process for launching a nuclear weapon include data manipulation, cyber jamming communication channels or cyber spoofing, according to the authors of the report, worldwide security researchers Beyza Unal and Patricia Lewis.

'At worst, cyber attacks could lead to deliberate misinformation and the inadvertent launch of nuclear weapons. If systems went down, then a country believing it is under attack, when it isn't, could launch deadly nuclear warheads by mistake. These risks could undermine confidence in a country's ability to react at a time of crisis.

The researchers said the digitisation of systems and the use of emerging technologies increase nuclear weapons systems' vulnerabilities to cyber attacks.

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"We can not stand idly by as Donald Trump holds us all hostage to his petulant mood swings", said Dr. Bruce Blair, a veteran nuclear launch officer and co-founder of the Global Zero movement to eliminate nuclear weapons.

Possible cyber resilience measures include taking a holistic approach in creating trustworthy systems based on rigorous risk assessments. "These should incorporate an analysis of a combination of threats, vulnerabilities and consequences", they said.

"Although some information is publicly available on USA weapons systems, there is very little information regarding other nuclear weapons states", the report said.

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