Co-Founder and Co-Chair, NTI
Nuclear Weapons in the New Cyber Age
NTI’s new report, Nuclear Weapons in the New Cyber Age, addresses the study group’s chilling conclusion that a successful cyberattack on nuclear weapons or related systems—including nuclear planning systems, early warning systems, communication systems, and delivery systems, in addition to the nuclear weapons themselves—could have catastrophic consequences. The report assesses credible, real-world scenarios in which a cyberattack could lead to a nuclear launch as a result of false warnings or miscalculation, increase the risk of unauthorized use of a nuclear weapon, and undermine confidence in the nuclear deterrent, affecting strategic stability. The report also offers a series of high-level recommendations for mitigating these threats, but ultimately poses the question “In an age of cyberwarfare, has the nuclear deterrence strategy that helped guide the West and the Soviet Union through the Cold War become dangerously obsolete?”
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There is a critical need for a global diplomatic approach to address growing cyber risks, including, where possible, through cooperation between the United States and Russia.
NTI explores the risks and benefits related to the digitization and automation plans for modernization of U.S. nuclear weapons systems and addresses implications for the national security community to consider as the process moves forward.
The current, attack‐centric approach to computer security is incapable of adequately defending nuclear facilities. This paper introduces a new approach, vulnerability‐centric security, which enables nuclear facility operators to prevent successful cyber‐attacks while enhancing the day‐to‐day operation of their systems.