Saturday , January 20 2018
Home / News / World / Cyberattacks ‘could lead to nuclear launches’

Cyberattacks ‘could lead to nuclear launches’

A Topol-M missile launcher
Image: Cyberattacks could result in inadvertent nuclear missile launches, says a think tank

Nuclear weapons systems are at “relatively high” risk of falling victim to cyberattacks , a think tank has warned, which could lead to “inadvertent” missile launches.

Chatham House’s study has identified a “number of vulnerabilities” in systems across the world, which leaves them open to attacks from malware and viruses.

The UK, US, Russia, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea all have nuclear weapons, according to the 2014 Stockholm International Peace Research Institute report.

The Chatham House authors suggest that a state that is unaware its systems are being interfered with could make decisions based on false information.

The study’s authors state: “The likelihood of attempted cyberattacks on nuclear weapons systems is relatively high and increasing…

“Cyber vulnerabilities within nuclear weapons systems and structures present a whole set of dangers and risks.

Kim Jong Un vowed North Korea would mass-produce nuclear warheads in his New Year's message

“At best, cyber insecurity in nuclear weapons systems is likely to undermine trust and confidence in military capabilities and in the nuclear weapons infrastructure.

“At worst, cyberattacks could lead to deliberate misinformation and the inadvertent launch of nuclear weapons.”

The authors say a mistaken missile launch could cause a “significant loss of life”, with the report urging governments of nuclear-armed states to be open about their discussions on an issue which requires “urgent attention”.

“After all, it is the public that will pay the ultimate price for complacency regarding cyber-security of nuclear weapons systems,” it adds.

The findings also highlight reports the US may have infiltrated parts of North Korea’s missile systems in 2016, resulting in test failures.

More from Cyberattacks

  • Carphone Warehouse fined £400k over huge cyberattack

  • What would a cyberwar between the UK and Russia look like?

  • US blames WannaCry ransomware attack on North Korea

  • Industrial systems hack could have caused physical damage

  • Hackers could turn off school and military base heating systems

  • Government blames North Korea for ‘WannaCry’ cyberattack on NHS

The study notes that little consideration has been paid to the risk posed by the primitive computers used in nuclear missile systems.

It says: “Nuclear weapons systems were first developed at a time when computer capabilities were in their infancy and (at the time) little consideration was given to potential malicious cyber vulnerabilities.”

More stories

  • Previous article Porn for women ‘rockets in popularity’
  • Next article Bitcoin conference stops accepting… Bitcoin




  • Check Also

    Tests on Cranberries singer O’Riordan’s body

    Dolores O'Riordan
    Image: Dolores O’Riordan was to sing on a new version of Zombie with Bad Wolves

    A coroner is awaiting results of “various tests” to determine what caused the death of The Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan.

    At the opening of the inquest, Westminster Coroner’s Court was told that O’Riordan was found unresponsive in her hotel room on Monday and declared dead at the scene by ambulance workers.

    Coroner’s officer Stephen Earl said: “A post-mortem examination has now taken place and the court is awaiting the results of various tests that have been commissioned.”

    O’Riordan, 46, had been in London for a recording session at the time of her death, her publicist said earlier this week.

    She had been staying at the Hilton on Park Lane.

    Police have said they do not think her death is suspicious.

    Tributes have been paid by singers, producers and even Irish President Michael D Higgins, who described O’Riordan and her Irish rock band as having had an immense influence on rock and pop music in Ireland and internationally.

    More from The Cranberries

    • The Cranberries Zombie cover to raise money for singer Dolores O’Riordan’s children

    • Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan’s death not suspicious

    • The Cranberries: A sweet and lingering fruit of the 90s

    • Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan had planned to re-record Zombie the day after her death

    The Cranberries formed in the Irish city of Limerick at the end of the 1980s.

    Their international hits included the songs Dream, Linger and Zombie.

    More stories

    • Previous article Eight killed in Germany by storm that swept UK
    • Next article Disgraced ex-Olympics doctor faces abuse accusers