A report from the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House in London has highlighted the risk of a cyberattack targeting nuclear weapons; whether by a rogue state, terrorist organisation or criminal gang. While the world’s nuclear arsenal has so far acted as an effective deterrent, the consequences could be apocalyptic if malicious actors were to tamper with or gain control of a nuclear weapon.
As the advent of nuclear weapons dates back to the early days of computer development, little thought was initially given to their hackability. The possibility of weapons of mass destruction falling into the wrong hands throws up questions about the security of the 16,000 plus nukes currently controlled by USA, Russia, UK, France, China, North Korea, India, Pakistan and Israel – not to mention other regimes with nuclear ambitions.
Britain is adamant that its Trident weapons system is being successfully upgraded to prevent cyberattack. Nevertheless, the possibility of systems being damaged, held to ransom or even deliberately or accidentally launched is cause for grave concern and pre-emptive action. Move over, Dr Strangelove!