Cyber-attack risk on nuclear weapons systems 'relatively high' - thinktank

Cyber-attack risk on nuclear weapons systems 'relatively high' - thinktank

According to the Guardian, the new review would add scenarios where the U.S. would be justified in using nuclear weapons to include responding to attacks with mass casualties and targeting the nuclear facilities of other countries.

This could "hijack decision-making with potentially devastating consequences", it found.

Software in the nuclear missile system was being upgraded after defence officials admitted there was "legitimate concern" about threats from cyber hackers.

The report suggests the likelihood of attempted cyber attacks on nuclear weapons systems is "relatively high" and cites reports the U.S. may have infiltrated parts of North Korea's missile systems a year ago and caused test failures.

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.

Then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the review recalibrated priorities "to prevent nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism", adding: "we are reducing the role and number of weapons in our arsenal, while maintaining a safe, secure and effective deterrent to protect our nation, allies and partners".

The report, entitled "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 for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and Patricia Lewis, research director of the global security department at Chatham House.

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Cyber interference could also destroy industrial control systems within delivery platforms, such as submarines, causing them to malfunction, while clandestine attacks could be conducted on targeting information or operational commands, which may not be discovered until the point of launch. This unknown could have implications for military decision-making, particularly for decisions affecting nuclear weapons deterrence policies.

Trump warned the hermit country: 'North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un just stated that the "Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times".

Researchers Dr Beyza Unal and Dr Patricia Lewis, the report's authors, warned that the key targets for cyberattacks could be communications as well as the transfer and storage of data.

Mr Wolfsthal told the newspaper that he had seen a copy of the final draft of the NPR which proposed the creation of the new weapon as well as revising the terms of use for weapons which would include attacks against national infrastructure or nuclear sites.

Trump reportedly responded to a chart about the reduction in USA 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".

The threat has received scant attention so far from those involved in nuclear military planning and the procurement of weapons, the report said.

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