In a new video released by the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), national security expert and former White House cyber czar Richard A. Clarke explains why the risk of cyber attacks on nuclear weapons systems should have us all concerned—and what we can do about it.
The video follows the release of President Biden’s Nuclear Posture Review and comes just days after another speech from Vladimir Putin raised questions about whether Russia would use nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Biden recently called the prospect of nuclear Armageddon the highest since the Cuban Missile Crisis and said that mistakes and miscalculations with nuclear weapons could lead to a “horrible outcome.”
In the video, which builds on NTI’s body of work to address cyber-nuclear threats, Clarke explains how cyber threats to our nuclear weapons systems make a tense geopolitical situation even riskier. He also breaks down how current United States’ nuclear modernization efforts that introduce new digital components could make nuclear systems more vulnerable to hackers.
As Clarke says, already the U.S. Government Accountability Office report found “mission-critical cyber vulnerabilities in nearly all of the weapons systems that were under development” by the Department of Defense.
“Since the invention of nuclear weapons, we have avoided an accidental, unauthorized, or miscalculated launch,” Clarke says. “But there have been dozens of close calls–and in today’s cyber age, our luck could run out.”
NTI released an accompanying backgrounder and social media toolkit for individuals and organizations interested in sharing the video to help educate the public about the cyber-nuclear threat.
Watch the video and learn more.