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Cyber Threats and Nuclear Weapons, Herbert Lin

Reviewed by James J. Wirtz
 

Nuclear weapons are a throwback to the analog age. This is a good thing because in the digital era, air-gapped, nuclear command, control, and communication systems operating with antiquated software and hardware are resistant to today's internet-enabled cyber threats. As Herbert Lin notes in this brilliant little book, however, the safety, security, and surety inherent in the analog nuclear complex is eroding as the digital revolution overtakes just about every aspect of scientific, technological, commercial, and social life. By exploring the nuclear complex as a system and across the life-cycle of its various components, Lin illustrates how cyber context (the growing presence and interaction of digital systems) and cyber operations (digital attacks intended to compromise computer systems and the humans that operate them) threaten the integrity of a nuclear arsenal in a myriad of ways. Officers and officials can do little to arrest this trend.

Dealing with the growing presence of Information Age technology in the nuclear complex creates a series of dilemmas that can never be fully resolved by designers, manufacturers, and operators. Every component in the nuclear complex—delivery systems, communications, sensors, and nuclear weapons themselves—can be compromised if actors can manage to incorporate malware or unauthorized hardware into the manufa

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