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Could Cyber-Terrorists Provoke Nuclear Attacks?

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the telling-woprs dept.

Security 183

Hugh Pickens writes "The Guardian reports that according to a study commissioned by the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND), a joint initiative of the Australian and Japanese Governments, terrorists could use information warfare techniques to make a nuclear attack more likely — triggering a catastrophic chain of events that may be an easier alternative 'than building or acquiring a nuclear weapon or dirty bomb themselves.' While the possibility of a radical group gaining access to actual launch systems is remote, the study suggests that terrorists could focus on feeding in false information further down the chain — or spreading fake information to officials in a carefully orchestrated strike. According to the study 'Hacking Nuclear Command and Control' [PDF], cyber-terrorists could 'provoke a nuclear launch by spoofing early warning and identification systems or by degrading communications networks.' Since command and control systems are placed at a higher degree of exploitation due to the need for rapid decisions under high pressure with limited intelligence, cyber-terrorists 'would not need deception that could stand up over time; they would only need to be believable in the first 15 minutes or so.'"

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Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (4, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844511)

We discussed this the day the report was released [slashdot.org] and the conversation was pretty much limited to BSOD jokes and War Games references. Hopefully it turns out a little more interesting this time around.

Really, I'm less worried about the cyber part of one of these attacks and am more so worried about the weakest link in the chain: the human factor. Social, over-the-shoulder or 'soft' hacks would be the few ways left to gain access. Mental manipulation like keeping someone in the dark would be the best way to scare them into action. It's not like someone's magically overcoming the physical barrier that exists between the internet and these secure networks on which sensitive information and control are relegated--you need a human to exploit.

At least this time around the title's gone from

Hacking Nuclear Command and Control

to

Could Cyber-Terrorists Provoke Nuclear Attacks?

Which is a lot more accurate but a lot less newsworthy.

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (3, Interesting)

koolfy (1213316) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844787)

and am more so worried about the weakest link in the chain: the human factor

that's why I'll never trust nuclear weapons.

With conventional weapons, we can always step back at time (or little after time), attackers are not isolated from main command when sent, and a spoofed war declaration can be reverted, even after one accidental bombing (this creating some serious diplomatic issues though...)
With nuclear weapons, no stepping back of any way (that I know), and after the first strike, the war is over, or forever.

Since I don't know much more than what movies told me I may be wrong and will be looking for expert's contribution, but I'm afraid I'm not that wrong...

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (4, Insightful)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844807)

and am more so worried about the weakest link in the chain: the human factor

that's why I'll never trust nuclear weapons.

It's no the weapons which you don't trust. It's the humans with them.

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (2, Interesting)

koolfy (1213316) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844871)

I would'n thust weapons with no human control eighter...

Just look at how easily antiviruses erase innocent files.

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845189)

Something tells me that the triggering mechanisms are a bit more complex and failsafe than some shitty antivirus program.

As evidence of this assertion, never once has a nuclear weapon accidentally detonated (and there sure are lots of them...)

YES, YES THEY COULD !! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28845367)

We are DOOMED !! DOOMED I tells ya !!

I have my bags packed and my hill runing shoes on !!

I'm GO !!

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28846857)

Something tells me that the triggering mechanisms are a bit more complex and failsafe than some shitty antivirus program.

maybe not. http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/10/18 [slashdot.org] /1847231&from=rss

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844873)

t
"Filter error: You can type more than that for your comment."
But I don't need to.

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (4, Insightful)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844857)

With nuclear weapons, no stepping back of any way (that I know), and after the first strike, the war is over, or forever.

Well, that's kind of the point, isn't it? So long as everyone knows that the missiles can't be recalled, that fact becomes part of the deterrence.

Makes everyone very, very careful.

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (3, Insightful)

koolfy (1213316) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844931)

No matter how careful you are, Murphy's Law is always around...

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (1)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844985)

No matter how careful you are, Murphy's Law is always around...

Sure. But, we can engineer the probability of failure down to a level where the costs of not having nukes will be higher.

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846493)

Who is "we"? I'm sure every nation on earth trusts their own brilliant and faithful nuclear establishment implicitly... but how much do you trust some emerging power that just figured out how to go nuclear? Do you trust the rebels in a coup that siezes control of a nuclear arsenal? Ultimately use control comes down to keeping good guys in and bad guys out, unfortunately the technology itself cannot make any such distinction.

Personally I think the odds of my living to see a nuclear exchange that kills at least a billion people are greater than 1 in 4.

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (1)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846551)

... but how much do you trust some emerging power that just figured out how to go nuclear? Do you trust the rebels in a coup that siezes control of a nuclear arsenal?

I don't trust them at all. That's why we have all those nukes. It makes it crystal-fucking-clear that we can destroy them utterly. Every single person in a newly-minted nuclear power knows that. We make sure they know that. As long as they know they will never ever win a nuclear war against us, it doesn't matter who's in power.

Personally I think the odds of my living to see a nuclear exchange that kills at least a billion people are greater than 1 in 4.

Where do you get that number? And who exactly would the exchange be between?

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846689)

I will freely admit my number is a guess. But when I look back at history, it is filled with almost constant war, and the nuclear genie keeps getting further and further out of the bottle. I look at what we did to Saddam Hussein - made up a story about him, set impossible conditions for him to meet, then used that as an excuse to capture and execute him. In this case, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy, but it would not be unreasonable on a purely selfish personal basis for somebody in his position (facing extinction with no way out) to lash out with everything he's got.

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (1)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846789)

I look at what we did to Saddam Hussein - made up a story about him, set impossible conditions for him to meet, then used that as an excuse to capture and execute him. In this case, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy, but it would not be unreasonable on a purely selfish personal basis for somebody in his position (facing extinction with no way out) to lash out with everything he's got.

Okay. I see what you're saying. Though, I don't think that kind of situation is terribly likely for a few reasons.

First, we didn't do that to a nuclear power. We knew Saddam didn't have nukes. I would think that situation would have played out much differently, and without an invasion, if he had. (Of course, the unintended consequence of this kind of thinking is what makes nuclear research so important to these kinds of countries.)

Second, sure the leader may be driven to suicidal extremes. But, there's always a second in command. And he didn't get there by being stupid. If push ever came to shove, I think you'd find said suicidal leader ousted from within. Maybe he wants to die; the rest of the country sure doesn't. There is always someone who'd be better off not being annihilated.

And third, these aren't the kinds of countries that we need to be worried about. None of them are capable of deploying an effective nuclear strike against the US. That won't be the case forever, of course. But, as long as we don't lose our massive lead, they'll never catch up.

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (2, Insightful)

jra (5600) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844955)

MAD assumes rationality.

Wars are not started by rational people.

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (1)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845005)

MAD assumes rationality.

Wars are not started by rational people.

There are degrees of rationality. And MAD works for pretty much all of them except people who are completely off their rockers'. Don't find many of those kinds of people running nuclear powers (Yes, I'm including Iran, NK, and Pakistan.)

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (5, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845061)

Where MAD falls apart is when the leaders don't give a rat's ass about the civilian population.

I would say that recent events in Iran make it pretty clear that the civilian population doesn't matter all that much to the leaders. North Korea is at that level or perhaps worse. If the military leadership in either country could be confident of survival I don't see MAD being a deterrent at all.

So what if 80% of the civilian population is wiped out?

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (4, Insightful)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845159)

Where MAD falls apart is when the leaders don't give a rat's ass about the civilian population.

I would say that recent events in Iran make it pretty clear that the civilian population doesn't matter all that much to the leaders. North Korea is at that level or perhaps worse. If the military leadership in either country could be confident of survival I don't see MAD being a deterrent at all.

So what if 80% of the civilian population is wiped out?

You realize that both of those countries are (or will be) able to field no more than a handful (at most) of nuclear weapons, right? And, that neither has the capability to disrupt our own volley of nukes.

Neither of them is able to "win" a nuclear war. Even if the leadership survives, and 80% of the population is killed, they won't really have a country left to lead, let alone maintain a military to defend against anything. It still doesn't make any sense for them to use nukes.

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (2, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846299)

I would say that recent events in Iran make it pretty clear that the civilian population doesn't matter all that much to the leaders.

You are mistaken there. Lives of individual people definitely don't matter at all to those leaders, but overall population count definitely does - it's the productivity of that population, whether in factories or on the fields of battle, that keeps them afloat.

Simply put, when you play Starcraft, you probably don't care about the life on one particular unit, but you do care to have them in sufficient numbers to defend against the enemy. Entering into a mutual nuclear strike exchange where all your units die, but the enemy still has some left, is most assuredly not in your interests - since, as soon as the exchange is over, you will surely see those enemy units digging you - the Glorious Dear Eternal Leader of ... oh, no-one now, actually - out of your underground bunker to put you up against the wall. Right away, if you're very, very lucky.

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845201)

Wars should be started by rational people. Then they'd have a much better chance of being properly used as one of the last tools of resolving State v. State issues and not another plank in some party's platform.

Unfortunately "police actions" tend to be started by very irrational people and police actions are much easier to start, harder to stop, and avoid all the formalities entailed in an actual declaration of war.

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (2, Insightful)

superwiz (655733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845531)

Oh? Rational thought was essentially invented by Aristotle -- the tutor of Alexander.

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844995)

That doesn't stop the US and a lot of other nuclear armed countries fitting nuclear weapons on just about everything that flies or sails. Really, having a few nuclear ICBMs is simply sane with other hostile countries. However, loading submarines with multiple warheads is not. If you must have nuclear armed subs, arm each one with one low-yield nuke. Any more and you are just begging for an accident.

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (5, Insightful)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845083)

If you must have nuclear armed subs, arm each one with one low-yield nuke. Any more and you are just begging for an accident.

I think you're missing the concept of "assured destruction" in Mutually Assured Destruction.

An american missile sub can have 20 missiles, with 8x50kt warheads per missile. That's 160 nuclear warheads that can be targeted independently and can each cause substantial casualties if aimed at civilian targets. But that's what it's meant to be - a guaranteed "revenge" weapon, that is fully capable of demolishing or severely crippling a whole nation, even if ALL of the ground nukes are disabled by a first strike. The terror such a weapon commands, is precisely the reason why safety is assured.

This is why small nuclear powers are so much less stable. India and Pakistan are at a much higher risk of using nuclear weapons in the field against each other than US and Russia, simply because neither of them have the capability of destroying the other.

That being said, as has been mentioned previously, MAD relies on rational players to work.

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845167)

Sure, but submarines are not totally safe. Lets say a group of people manage to board the ship and with some aid from some crew, hey, they have 160 nukes that can reach pretty much an entire continent or more. Or lets say two subs manage to crash into each other as had previously happened ( http://i.gizmodo.com/5154315/two-nuclear-submarines-collide-in-the-atlantic [gizmodo.com] ) and lets say for some reason some safety measures failed and if this happens in a populated area it becomes another Chernobyl even with an incomplete detonation. The USSR is no longer in power, and a nuke or two is all it takes to neutralize any potential other nuclear threat from a non-stable nation, so why risk it?

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (3, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846001)

Sure, but submarines are not totally safe. Lets say a group of people manage to board the ship and with some aid from some crew, hey, they have 160 nukes that can reach pretty much an entire continent or more.

Of course, unless one of the "some of the crew" include the Captain, they can't actually arm the weapons. And if they have the captain, well, there are other people they have to have, any one of which can make the weapons unusable.

Plus, of course, the boats with the missiles are either underwater (and therefore the "group of people" can't reach it to take it over), or tied up alongside a subtender full of sailors and marines, in a port full of sailors and marines, all of whom have a very bad attitude about the notion of stealing a boomer.

Or lets say two subs manage to crash into each other as had previously happened ( http://i.gizmodo.com/5154315/two-nuclear-submarines-collide-in-the-atlantic [gizmodo.com] [gizmodo.com] ) and lets say for some reason some safety measures failed and if this happens in a populated area it becomes another Chernobyl even with an incomplete detonation.

Aside from this being impossible (there is no scenario where an "incomplete detonation" can occur - nukes have been present on aircraft that crashed without doing anything other than laying there), there aren't actually too many "populated areas" in the middle of the ocean where these boats spend their time.

The USSR is no longer in power, and a nuke or two is all it takes to neutralize any potential other nuclear threat from a non-stable nation, so why risk it?

Because the USSR isn't the only threat conceivable. It never was, and never will be.

This ignoring the fact that there has never been an accidental detonation of a nuclear device, in ANY of the nuclear powers. So why assume that the risk is meaningful?

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28846921)

Aside from this being impossible (there is no scenario where an "incomplete detonation" can occur - nukes have been present on aircraft that crashed without doing anything other than laying there)

Read about the B52 that exploded over spain. Several of the weapons experienced non-nuclear detonations that spread contamination over the tomato crop for miles around.

As a result of that a lot of work went into making more stable explosive triggers.

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (1)

freyyr890 (1019088) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846907)

Three words: Permissive Action Links [wikipedia.org] . Not only will they need the codes to arm the warheads, but they also need training for how to arm the weapons and target them. The nuclear powers like to keep a very close watch over the mental stability of people working with nuclear weapons. The US procedure, the Personnel Reliability Program (PRP), has an exceedingly long list of reasons that disqualify a potential recruit from nuclear duty, to the point where a speeding ticket might be cause for alarm. It's not excessive, it's merely required. For your scenario, two such people would need to be compromised without discovery (the two-man rule applies to nuclear weapons at all times). Quite a feat.

The US procedure for nuclear release is also complex: first, the National Command Authority (the president and vice president or their successors) must order a nuclear strike by initiating the SIOP (Single Integrated Operations Plan). Next the Joint Chiefs of Staff must issue an order to the NMCC at the Pentagon (or Raven Rock if the Pentagon has already been destroyed by a nuclear strike) which then sends off an Emergency Action Message (EAM) to nuclear forces to begin launch. Two people must be present at any point along the chain for this to work right.

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (2, Informative)

RxScram (948658) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845409)

All American SSBN's (Ohio Class) can actually carry 24 missiles, with a theoretical limit of 8 (or 12, depending on the source of information) W88 warheads, each warhead with a yield of 475 Kt. Of course, the START and SALT treaties limit the number of warheads per missile to something like 4, but it's still a mighty destructive force.

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (2, Insightful)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845109)

That doesn't stop the US and a lot of other nuclear armed countries fitting nuclear weapons on just about everything that flies or sails.

Nor should it.

Really, having a few nuclear ICBMs is simply sane with other hostile countries. However, loading submarines with multiple warheads is not. If you must have nuclear armed subs, arm each one with one low-yield nuke. Any more and you are just begging for an accident.

What you describe is not a credible nuclear deterrent. To be effective, a deterrent needs to make launching a first-strike so unthinkably catastrophic for the aggressor, that there would be no way to "win". If we implemented the kind of deterrent you advocate, a nuclear war would be "winnable", and much more likely.

Remember, an accidental launch of a nuclear weapon is not the worst-case scenario.

The problem with the Human Factor (2, Funny)

dov_0 (1438253) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845309)

You can fool some of the people some of the time, or all of the people all of the time. Unfortunately it seems that could be all that's needed...

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (1)

palindrome (34830) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844819)

I have other "accurate" headlines if you're interested.

"Could the moon explode without warning?"
"Could you die tomorrow?"
"Could Jim Davidson do another tour?"

Maybe using the word could as an opener in a headline isn't the best start as the inevitable "yes" it illicits blows reason out of the window.

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (1)

MeatBag PussRocket (1475317) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844877)

wtf? Fox News is Fear-mongering on /. what is this world comming to? "Tonights News: Terrorist Hacker Zombies Threaten Nuclear Apocalypse, Cancer Knows Where You Live, and Someday You Will Die! But First: Ten easy ways to loose weight while sucking down Double McWhopper Valu-Meals!

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (1)

jra (5600) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844971)

Spelling flames always contain misspellings.

"Elicit".

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (3, Funny)

palindrome (34830) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845121)

It wasn't a spelling flame, I simply doubted the validity of the word accurate. But kudos and my sincere apologeese.

Its Silly Season... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28845141)

I stopped reading when I got to "The Guardian". Its silly season in the UK media at this time of year.

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845207)

There is no point to this. The whole reason for these two "articles" good old fearmongering, to push trough an agenda, that is most likely about money and power.
The "reporter" profits from it. The "politican" profits from it. And we are the cattle that they need to do it.

Every discussion about it, is by definition pointless.

That should be clear from the wording of the "headline" alone.

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (1)

ijakings (982830) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845347)

Am I the only one that thought of This [wikimedia.org] when you spoke of mental manipulation and nuclear silos?

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845499)

Ok, but jokes aside, War Games has already discussed all the sides of the issue. At least all the issues that come up with this particular vector of attack.

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28845509)

Yes

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (1)

Tuna_Shooter (591794) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845589)

Damn ... too dam short.... targeting references are often changed on a regular basis..... this is the hard part
inertial platforms such as the *crap* i worked on takes specialized hardware to configure....

cannot be done over the net.... never

Re:Discussed This Report Four Days Ago (1)

kvillaca (1276120) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845783)

I don't think that everything that is possible in fact might happens, as I don't believe that one very high skilled person that might create one attack like this one will have intention to kill. I don't believe one person will take study for years, just for kill. We have to think about the higher probabilities and not in all possibles. Because for the high probability scenario, they still to be able to have control over all communications environment, because with just one single phone or mobile call, or even one message via internet for one person near from that local, we can know if in fact is happens the attack or not. In my point of view is best we create some way to avoid one comet blast than start create hypothetical scenarios that have very low chances to happen. In fact we have today one fear about terrorists, but instead the USA government expend billions of dollars in tech-military programs, they create humans conditions with schools, health services, there, into terrorists land like Pakistan, Afghanistan , I think that in few years (may be 10) they will have good conditions to live and all major threat should disappear.Because they will know the other face and not only poverty and misery. But it's not means start with MC Donalds, but with the minimum for one descent life. Create together with the local government some program to give something for that they could have for life. Because what they are doing today is create the basis for one new kind of terrorists and is easy to see this, who here will be glad in lost family members in explosions or even have your house with all your goodies destroyed and keep thinking that the person that did it against you is your friend ?????

Hmm? (1)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844515)

Perhaps we could set up a security protocal called Tic-Tac-Toe?

Oh wait . . .

"I'm afraid I can't do that Dave."

OH SNAP!

Terrorists in teh yu0r PC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28844539)

Terrorists could hack into your computer and turn it into a W.M.D

Can we go ahead with the Nuclear Disarmament alrea (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28844593)

NOBODY has any legitimate reason to use 'em, so why are we prepping ourselves for a global segfault?

Re:Can we go ahead with the Nuclear Disarmament al (2, Insightful)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844715)

By not using nukes, we are using nukes. Ever wondered why there was never another major war between superpowers since WWII? They are a deterrent.

Plus, they are not the only thing subject to social engineering. How about air strikes? Regular missiles? Those can do some serious damage, and could lead to WWIII. Especially if nobody has Mutually Assured Destruction to worry about.

biologicals (3, Interesting)

zogger (617870) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844891)

I am more concerned over biological attacks. There's a possibility now, what with the fast advances in this tech, that some group/state even a deranged individual could unleash something quite bad. And if they can construct such a virus or bacteria in advance, perhaps they could also construct any vaccine or treatment needed so they wouldn't worry about getting infected themselves. Or even worse, some nutjob who just hated everyone just might not care, a suicide attack.

    An attack could pass as "natural" for maybe a long time, giving the attacker immunity from detection and a modicum of plausible deniability even if suspected. We can tell where a missile is launched from, and I am guessing but I would think normal telemetry that would be garnered would give an indication of what make/model missile, giving a clue as to origin, even with a suddeen underwater sea launch. But how to tell where a biological really came from if all of a sudden it just "appears" someplace and starts to spread, or who was responsible for any retaliation strikes, or even if it is a "natural mutation" or man made?

Anyone working with recombination techniques care to respond? Is this a possible scenario, or still mostly just scary science fiction?

Re:biologicals (1)

rabiddeity (941737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845903)

Nuclear weapons are even more traceable than that. In fact, each breeder reactor has a certain "fingerprint" in terms of the material it generates, and I'm sure these fingerprints are widely known. By analyzing the aftermath it would be possible to tell from the isotopes which reactor(s) produced the fissile material. This would tell you where the device was built, even if it were a stolen warhead somehow detonated manually.

Re:biologicals (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846583)

But how to tell where a biological really came from if all of a sudden it just "appears" someplace and starts to spread, or who was responsible for any retaliation strikes, or even if it is a "natural mutation" or man made?

Or just go for widespread infection, if you pumped out a massive amount of germs in downtown of a major city you would overload everything and all attempts at containment, particularly once people start dying and panicing. Sure it'd be an obvious attack but really nowhere to point the finger and with >1 million that is or will be infected everything would go to hell.

Re:Can we go ahead with the Nuclear Disarmament al (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845091)

The reasons why there aren't any wars after WWII isn't necessarily nukes, but the general enlightenment that comes with technology. Other than the Soviet Union, during the Cold War no one really wanted to fight on a global scale, and the only reason that Soviet Russia did was that the people were brainwashed. Before WWI and WWII young men -wanted- war, they wanted the "glory" of victory, they wanted if they died to be remembered as a patriot with every girl they ever knew wishing that they were still alive and crying at the funeral. Than WWI hit and so did the media, and suddenly war didn't seem to be all that great to the masses except for in the propaganda and brainwashed cultures of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. The rest of them fought for pure necessity and to save their own skin. After that, very few people really -wanted- another war, sure, they did have a few small wars, but they couldn't convince the people that war was really necessary anymore. No longer in most cultures did you have the father or grandfather speak proudly about his accomplishments in war, making it sound no more dangerous than hunting with some friends. But after the world wars you had most of them quiet, traumatized, mix that in with the fact that most people no longer saw a need for war (hippie movement) and improvements in journalism made it possible for everyone to see the horrors of war lead to many cultures who refused to go to war. The reason why we haven't had WWIII isn't totally because we have nukes but because there would be very few willing fighters.

Re:Can we go ahead with the Nuclear Disarmament al (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845287)

The interesting thing is that The Great War, The War to End All Wars was World War I, which preceded World War II and introduced the horrors of chemical weapons and machine guns, and WWI pulled America out of one of its most isolationist periods.

Depending on which countries you pick there was less than 20 years between "The Last War" and, well, the next war.

Re:Can we go ahead with the Nuclear Disarmament al (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28845321)

We've always been at war with ...

...

...

...

FUCKING Kindle piece of SHIT!

Re:Can we go ahead with the Nuclear Disarmament al (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845373)

Yes, but even more interesting was the general reluctance of any country not suffering direct attack by the Japanese or by Nazi Germany to join the war. Until Nazi Germany decided they weren't going to stop at just a few countries most of the world just sat back and hoped they didn't come for them.

Re:Can we go ahead with the Nuclear Disarmament al (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28845513)

Your reasoning is more than a tad absurd. Willingness to fight hasn't magically dropped because of 'technology'. People still happily glorify war. Nations regularly fight brutal wars of annihilation. The only difference is that the people with the biggest guns are afraid to use them. We live in a big old Mexican standoff where you have a dozen or so powers with the capacity to wipe each other out. Israel, a nation the size of a small US state, has the fire power to wipe out the US (if they could deliver missiles that far, which they can't). The US and Russia could easily wipe out every major civilian population center in the world if they really wanted to. China could easily make the US uninhabbitable.

It isn't that the citizens have suddenly become less willing to fight and die, it is that the brutal reality is that in a nuclear war everyone fights, everyone dies. There is no sending the kids off to fight while remaining safe at home. The president of the US, a guy who normally can't be touched, dies in a nuclear war or, at the very least, spends the rest of his life in a bunker while everyone who knows ends up dead.

The real bullet to this argument is the US willingness to go stomp on Iraq, but how it is considered unimaginable for the US to do the same to North Korea. Both were belligerent nations that the world is a better of place without. Yet, the US decided to go stomp on Iraq but not North Korea... why? The reason is simple. The US knew that if Iraq had any WMDs, they didn't have enough to really threaten anyone. North Korea on the other hand has enough biological and chemical weapons to leave South Korea a wasteland. Hence, with merry impunity, the US trashed Iraq which was suspected of trying to develop WMDs, while they sent lawyers and diplomats after North Korea.

There is no magical enlightenment, just fear of millions of deaths. Nuclear weapons are the ultimate in fear, and thus war avoidance. The US and the USSR never went toe to toe because hippies made war look ugly. The US and the USSR never went toe to toe because both sides were too terrified of nuclear Armageddon.

Re:Can we go ahead with the Nuclear Disarmament al (1)

he-sk (103163) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846131)

Israel, a nation the size of a small US state, has the fire power to wipe out the US (if they could deliver missiles that far, which they can't).

Actually...

According to 2004 report to Congress (linked by Wiki) the new Jericho III missile can reach most of North America.

They also have subs. German made, no less.

Re:Can we go ahead with the Nuclear Disarmament al (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846309)

and the only reason that Soviet Russia did was that the people were brainwashed

Why do you believe that Soviet Russia "wanted to fight" any more than e.g. the United States did?

Re:Can we go ahead with the Nuclear Disarmament al (1)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846455)

The reason we haven't fought a war like WWII again, is because the casualties in WWII was almost exclusively civilian, for both sides, which was a fairly unique occurance in history. It left both sides, victor and vanquished, with a horrible taste in their mouths. The risk we have now is that fewer and fewer people are left alive who remember the total-war state of WWII. I think the risk of another WW is going up every year simply because of that fact and nothing else.

Conflict has been and always will be a part of human nature - resources (oil, water, food, pussy or other).

Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, and we are fast losing those people who were there and remember it most vividly.

Re:Can we go ahead with the Nuclear Disarmament al (1)

greyhueofdoubt (1159527) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846901)

BS. I'm sorry, but as a veteran I have to say BS.

Young men wanted war? Are you nuts? Read accounts of the civil war. Read about the effect Napoleon had on france during his little escapade. Read about the mexican-american war. And don't just read the winners' stories.

War is, and always has been, hell. I don't know if you simply played too much Civ 4 or what, but no one but leaders ever want war (at least, they don't want it bad enough to actually die for it in great numbers). Those guys who talk about war casually, as if it were no big thing? I go to veterans support groups with them and hold them as they cry over their broken lives. Maybe you haven't heard the reality because vets know you won't get it, you'll take it out of context because you weren't there. War ruins the lives of everyone it touches. You won't hear my stories because they define me, yet they mean shit to you.

Many families still tell the stories of their ancestors' terrible experiences in our civil war. It is a BIG DEAL to kill another person. There isn't a generation alive that hasn't dealt personally with war. War happens out of necessity- or perceived necessity- not because people WANT to go to war.

And I also disagree with your last sentence. There are more people here in the U.S. than at any other time willing to fight for their country. But there is a huge difference between being willing to fight and wanting to fight. I help defend the country, yes; I have done so willingly in the past. But I never *wanted* to go where I did, do what I did, see what I saw... But I would do it again. I believe in the bigger picture; I believe that my hardship is worth the gains to the people back home. I don't want to die for my country. That's stupid. But I want to go help so that other people *also* don't have to die.

I don't know if any of this made any sense to you. I hope it did. But your entire post was ass-backwards in every respect. I had to say something.

-b

My God man, we're DOOMED! (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844595)

Re:My God man, we're DOOMED! (1)

jra (5600) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844993)

Funny spot, which amazingly, I hadn't already seen.

But, y'know: if you're a young Mafioso on your first date, it's probably actually pretty cool if someone tries to kill you.

Hard To Say (2, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844605)

Without knowing how precisely nuclear arsenals, launch codes and the like are stored, I think it's really hard to say how likely or unlikely it is. I'd like to think that the systems and people involved are heavily secured, but if we look at some of the stuff that's gone walking out of a secured US facilities, sometimes you gotta wonder.

Re:Hard To Say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28846453)

Perhaps we should have some government-run organization whose primary purpose is to identify threats against the country like this one and to organize the manpower, materiel, and knowledge necessary to obviate such threats. We could pay a million loyal citizens to spend long working days training for combat scenarios. There could be some highly structured leadership model whose members spend their careers organizing and executing simulated attacks and testing their readiness. It would also be ideal for them to work closely with technology providers and researchers to be aware of new developments and how they could be used both for and against this organization.

It needs a cool name...something that invokes images of forcefulness, like "Force". Letting people know that they are armed would be good. Maybe "Forces that are Armed" could be catchy.

In other news, Social Engineering is dangerous (1, Insightful)

liquiddark (719647) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844623)

Didn't we already know that people are the weakest link? Well, except for the Windows servers on the nuclear subs.

Re:In other news, Social Engineering is dangerous (0)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844651)

Subs have windows?

I have eatin' at Subway for years now and have never seen a window on my sandwich.

Re:In other news, Social Engineering is dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28844717)

joke fail

Re:In other news, Social Engineering is dangerous (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845337)

And yet you fall for the social engineering that this "article" is?

I guess the shoemaker has the worst shoes. ^^

Those terrorists... (2, Funny)

koolfy (1213316) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844643)

... are trying to impurify all of our precious bodily fluids !

Bastards !

yeah, that's my way of showing why I disagree with nuclear strikes, without repeating the same message that Kubrick's movie told us long time ago
I assume my point here is pretty obvious (if you have seen the movie, of course.)

No. (1)

Jeff Carr (684298) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844655)

Just no.

You mentioned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28844663)

the ratio of ten women to each man. Wouldn't that necessitate abandoning the so-called monogamous form of sexual relationship?

Re:You mentioned (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28844723)

Problems with polygamy...
1: twice the cost of dating.
2: she always has backup in a fight.
3: they can keep each other satisfied if they decide to avoid the penis.
4: PMS all the time, or twice the PMS at once.

Re:You mentioned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28845691)

4: PMS all the time, or twice the PMS at once.

It'd be nice if your many wives took turns menstruating (if you're more interested in having sex with them than you are worried about getting yelled at), but that's just not how it works. And if you'd actually take the time to talk to women you're not related to, you wouldn't have to learn about the McClintock effect [wikipedia.org] from Wikipedia.

WarGames (1)

beatbox32 (325106) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844681)

I think we'll be okay as long they keep that darned Global Thermonuclear War game from being dialed into.

First things first (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28844729)

While the possibility of a radical group gaining access to actual launch systems is remote, the study suggests that terrorists could focus on feeding in false information further down the chain -- or spreading fake information to officials in a carefully orchestrated strike.

Whatever you do, don't precede the attack with an attempt to impress a girl by, say, dialing up an airline mainframe and reserving a pair of one-way tickets to Paris. That's a dead giveaway.

Interesting Defense (3, Insightful)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844757)

Essentially the defense against this sort of exploit is "be less trigger-happy".

Re:Interesting Defense (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845745)

Or in other words: Think before you act.

Who would have thought of that?? Me not. I'm to busy doing things. :P

DUH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28844771)

NO, IT'S DOES NOT COMPUTE.

See Sum of All Fears (2, Insightful)

JackStraight (1024643) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844775)

This novel involved an acutal nuclear device, but the aim was not simple destruction, but to get the USA to think the Russians did it, and therefore to retaliate against them. I think it did a good job of illustrating how people can come up with the wrong conclusions when they have limited info and time. In this scenario, people also tended to think of just one possibility, instead of thinking about what else could be the cause. Especially hard under time pressure.

Nuke alert when Ron Artest visits WH w/Lakers (1)

leftie (667677) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844885)

Terrorists just wait for the day the LA Lakers visit the White House to celebrate NBA Title with new teammate Ron Artest tagging along. Terrorists set off false alarm at White House. Artest freaks out, attacks Air Force officer carrying football, strips to his underwear, then runs around West Wing in his drawers. While entire Secret Service detail distracted chasing Artest, terrorists sneak into White House and takes football off arm of unconscious Air Force officer.

And *specifically*, you need to read (4, Interesting)

jra (5600) | more than 5 years ago | (#28844939)

the part of Sum of All Fears where we almost *do it to ourselves*: a major plot point hinges on one Good Guy mis-hearing "fifteen kt" as "one fifty kt" from another Good Guy -- the first being a potential terrorist nuke, while the second "would have to be" the Russians.

There's followup as to how hard it is to push the *clean* data down the pipe afterwards as well.

If that's not a sufficiently cautionary tale as to just how loose and messy things would actually be in a first-strike-response situation for you... then you're not imaginative enough, and probably much happier.

It's amazing how hard it is to think when you think someone's about to nuke your country.

It's somewhat analogous to the traditional election supervisor's prayer: "Please, dear Ghod, let it be a landslide".

Only, um, in reverse.

Re:And *specifically*, you need to read (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 5 years ago | (#28847003)

If I recall the book correctly, it was a weapon that was supposed to be thermonuclear, but it was broken due to the bad guy's killing off the scientist a few seconds too soon (resulting in impure tritium being used). However, the reflection of the blast off the snow made the actual yield appear larger to the satellites.

only an idiot would resort to this sort of attack. (1, Interesting)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845079)

I don't need a nuclear weapon to fight against cyber-terrorism. All I need is my pocket knife.

Knife cuts fiber-optic cable. I win.

Seriously, the simple answer is to disable their ability to connect to our computers. That doesn't take bombs, though bombs work just fine.

Only a warmongering technophobe would resort to nuclear weapons.

Re:only an idiot would resort to this sort of atta (1)

WarmongrinTecnophobe (1606771) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845335)

Only a warmongering technophobe would resort to nuclear weapons.

It's true. I would, and I'm all alone in the world.

Re:only an idiot would resort to this sort of atta (1)

DoctorMabuse (456736) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845647)

The author of the paper has no real knowledge. The Minuteman system, for example, has redundant cables running through pressurized pipes buried underground, as well as other detection and rerouting capabilities.

Dirty Bomb? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28845165)

The fact that they are even talking about dirty bombs makes me question the integrity of the report.

This is bullshit... (4, Insightful)

ammorais (1585589) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845231)

From the article:

"Cyberspace is real, and so is the risk that comes with it,"

Did someone stopped to think this is the kind of alarming news that can elevate simple computer hackers to dangerous international terrorists.

Uhuh (1)

TW Burger (646637) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845267)

Sounds like the result of Mathew Broderick movie festival and too many Red Bulls.

---------------

Bomb Mars now!

15 minutes of Fame (1)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845271)

they would only need to be believable in the first 15 minutes or so

Because the government moves that fast. Really.

Words of Wisdom (0, Troll)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845305)

Fool me once...shame on me. Fool me twice...you can't get fooled again. -- George W Bush

Maybe this is what he was talking about. If you trick a trigger happy world leader bent on imposing his world view on everyone into pushing the red button to rid the world of some foreign threat...well...you can't get fooled again because you will all be radioactive waste.

Now...I certainly can't imagine a group of people that would be easily tricked into launching a preemptive nuclear strike...well except for Republicans. I guess it is a good thing that ol George's request for nukes that could be used in "tactical" situations didn't go anywhere.

Re:Words of Wisdom (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846043)

I guess it is a good thing that ol George's request for nukes that could be used in "tactical" situations didn't go anywhere.

As opposed, say, to the "tactical nuclear weapons" that we've had since the 60's? Or don't you remember Atomic Annie?

And the Pershing missile?

And....

Re:Words of Wisdom (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846191)

And they were a bad idea then. Anyone who desires to develop nuclear weapons for offensive use rather than as a deterent should be drug into the street and shot.

The whole point behind the nuclear weapon is that it is a weapon so terrifying that no one dares risk a fight with one. I find it absolutely hilarious that the administration that is saying we need to pursue Iraq/Iran/Korea for their desire to build and use nuclear weapons was also trying to develop nuclear weapons that were easier to use...

Re:Words of Wisdom (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846873)

It's not as simple as you're trying to portray it. What the Bush administration wanted was nuclear ground-penetrating weapons. Whether or not such weapons are more likely to be used is a matter of some debate. You're assuming they would make it easier to "go nuclear" on someone because the damage wouldn't be widespread. But I don't think that's the case - it's hard to imagine a bomb that's big enough to do the job but doesn't kick up a whole hell of a lot of fallout. And the first use any kind of nuclear weapon is bound to open a bigger can of worms than the problem you're trying to solve. The Bush administration was well aware of this.

The reason they wanted this weapon was for retaliation against a nuclear or biological attack. There are governments around the world that have built deep enough bunkers they might get the idea they could survive a limited retaliation. The bunker buster was, like all nukes, a political weapon aimed at those governments (particularly North Korea).

how about (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845421)

a nice game of chess?

Insufficient Knowledge = Inaccurate Results (5, Informative)

DoctorMabuse (456736) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845601)

This paper shows a significant misunderstanding of the command and control structure and procedures at STRATCOM (formerly SAC), National Command Authority (NCA) and other key elements of the process. I am waiting for the author to explain how the attacker will obtain the encryption codes to MILSTAR, SLFCS or any of the other communication channels into a Minuteman Launch Control Facility or the equivalent communication channels going to bomber squadrons, submarines and other force components with nuclear capability. Then there are enable codes, launch codes and various other keys that would be needed. The article also fails to address safeguards in place. One needs to only examine the "incidents" that have occurred in real life, such as a exercise tape accidentally being loaded at SAC, prompting incoming ICBM warnings, to see that these procedures worked even 20 or 30 years ago, and they hve only been improved since then.

Having worked on the unauthorized launch studies for Peacekeeper (the decommissioned ICBM system often referred as MX), I can tell you the author did not have the data needed to be able to conduct this study, much less draw any valid conclusions

WarGames? (1)

JCunningham (1486719) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845633)

Isn't the Guardian about 24 years late with this scenario? David Lightman can tell you all about it.

maybe if they hack into WOPR (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845803)

maybe if they hack into WOPR.

uh oh (1)

Jesterace (914041) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845831)

And it all begins with AT&T blocking 4chan

Water fluoridation (1)

_ivy_ivy_ (1081273) | more than 5 years ago | (#28845885)

It's all great until they start fluoridating the water...

Ummm... Red Storm Rising? (1)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 5 years ago | (#28846295)

Wasn't this a huge part of Sum of All Fears and Red Storm Rising?

Why *ISN'T* Tom Clancy one of Obama-lhama's defense Czars?

Too late, Iran is in the crosshairs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28846673)

Yup, Iran is already slated for strikes from Israel and the US. If anyone has the inside access to our military command structure it would be Israeli intelligence units that have infiltrated
and spied for 40 years. That, mixed with the remaining propaganda machine (US media) and Iran will be glassed over before you can say glasnost on toast.

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