Hacking the Bomb: Cyber Threats and Nuclear Weapons

Hacking the Bomb: Cyber Threats and Nuclear Weapons

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Are nuclear arsenals safe from cyber attack? We may be standing at the edge of a major technological challenge to global nuclear order. The increasing sophistication of hacking and cyber weapons, information warfare capabilities, and other dynamics of the cyber age are challenging the management, safeguards, and warning systems for nuclear weapons. Every nuclear power is currently modernizing its nuclear command, control, and communications (NC3) capabilities, but there is a danger that in upgrading computer systems and making NC3 more networked, states may inadvertently also make their nuclear arsenals more vulnerable to breaches, interference, or even unintended use. In addition to implications for NC3, this new age also affects nuclear strategy, escalation dynamics in crisis management, and the ability to safeguard nuclear secrets. Andrew Futter cuts through the hype surrounding these challenges and provides a framework through which to understand and proactively address the implications of this emerging cyber-nuclear nexus.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626165656
Publisher: Georgetown University Press
Publication date: 04/02/2018
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 958,083
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Andrew Futter is an associate professor in the School of History, Politics, and International Relations at the University of Leicester. He is the author of The Politics of Nuclear Weapons and Ballistic Missile Defence and US National Security Policy, the editor of The United Kingdom and the Future of Nuclear Weapons, and co-editor of Reassessing the Revolution in Military Affairs.

Table of Contents

Foreword by The Rt. Hon. Lord Browne of Ladyton ix

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction: WarGames Redux? 1

Part I The Nature of the Challenge

1 What Exactly Do We Mean by the Cyber Challenge? 17

2 How and Why Might Nuclear Systems Be Vulnerable? 35

Part II What Might Hackers Do to Nuclear Systems?

3 Stealing Nuclear Secrets 55

4 Could Cyberattacks Lead to Nuclear Use or Stop Systems from Working? 73

Part III The Cyber-Nuclear Nexus at the Strategic Level

5 Cyberdeterrence, Nuclear Weapons, and Managing Strategic Threats 95

6 A Cyber-Nuclear Security Dilemma, Nuclear Stability, and Crisis Management 111

Part IV Challenges for Our Cyber-Nuclear Future

7 Nuclear Weapons Modernization, Advanced Conventional Weapons, and the Future Global Nuclear Environment 131

Conclusion: Managing Our Cyber-Nuclear Future 149

Bibliography 161

Index 187

About the Author 197

What People are Saying About This

Bruce G. Blair

"If you are bothered by the fact that our top security officials cannot determine with high confidence whether computer malware or other hacking could cause Russian, Chinese, or U.S. nuclear missiles to be illicitly fired, you should read this book. If you are bothered by the fact that cyber operations could confuse leaders into launching nuclear missiles during a crisis, you should read this book. If you are not bothered because you are not aware of such dangers, you should read this book. Professor Futter asks all the right questions about the myriad dangers that information warfare poses to the command and control of nuclear forces, and illuminates the answers to the extent that current knowledge allows. His important and provocative book also connects the cyber issues to the major risks of nuclear instability and accidents, providing rich context for his analysis. A cross between historical investigation, policy analysis, and theory, this is a must-read volume for anyone who cares about this perilous new threat to mankind.

Martin Libicki

Nuclear strategy is hard – but cyber operations makes it harder. In this thorough and insightful work, Andrew Futter skillfully weaves the many threads binding cyberspace and the nuclear establishment to urge caution for those who would ignore or promote cyberwar on nuclear capabilities. Strategists of all flavors, take note.

Political Science Quarterly

In his deeply researched and artfully written Hacking the Bomb, Andrew Futter has added a key nuance: the machines upon which the complex systems that command and control nuclear weapons depend may themselves become prisoners of skillful hackers.

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