CND urges government to condemn Trump's nuclear weapons policy
CND urges government to condemn Trump's nuclear weapons policy
Trump speaks about tax reform at the White House in Washington Thomson Reuters
12 January, 2018, 16:21
Their report warned: "The potential impacts of a cyberattack on nuclear weapons systems are enormous".
It also urged governments to be open about their discussions, adding: 'After all, it is the public that will pay the ultimate price for complacency regarding cyber-security of nuclear weapons systems'. Numerous assumptions on which current nuclear strategies are based pre-date the current widespread use of digital technology in nuclear command, control and communication systems.
The report, Cybersecurity of Nuclear Weapons Systems: Threats, Vulnerabilities and Consequences, was written by Beyza Unal, a research fellow at London-based Chatham House who previously worked on strategic analysis at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and Patricia Lewis, research director of the worldwide security department at Chatham House.
As an example of what is possible, the research paper cited a Washington Post report published in March 2017 that said the USA had infiltrated parts of North Korea's missile systems and caused test failures.
"Early in the Chatham House report, the authors note, "Nuclear weapons systems were first developed at a time when computer capabilities were in their infancy and little consideration was given to potential malicious cyber vulnerabilities, '" Habibi said".
This could "hijack decision-making with potentially devastating consequences", it found.
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Shell which is the replica of the biggest detonated Soviet nuclear bomb AN-602, on display in Moscow Russia. Maxim Zmeyev Reuters
Nuclear weapons systems are under threat from criminal groups, hostile states and terrorist organisations exploiting cyber vulnerabities, according to the report.
The administration is being accused of making nuclear war more likely with plans to introduce lower-yield nuclear weapons with reduced destructive capability that would diminish the psychological bar for using them.
"These risks raise significant doubts as to the reliability and integrity of nuclear weapons systems in a time of crisis, regarding the ability to: launch a weapon; prevent an inadvertent launch; maintain command and control of all military systems; transmit information and other communications; and the maintenance and reliability of such systems", the report said.
"With each new digital component embedded in the nuclear weapons enterprise, new threat vectors may emerge", the report said.
Researchers Dr Beyza Unal and Dr Patricia Lewis outlined a number of doomsday scenarios that could hit any nuclear arsenal in the world.
Secretary of defence at the time of the last review, Robert Gates, said then: "The NPR provides a road map for implementing President Obama's agenda for reducing nuclear risks to the United States, our allies and partners and the global community". Said circumstances now include "a response to a non-nuclear attack that caused mass casualties" or in response to an attack aimed at critical infrastructure or nuclear control sites.
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