The technology controlling United States nuclear weapons predates the Internet. Updating the technology for the digital era is necessary, but it comes with the risk that anything digital can be hacked. Moreover, using new systems for both nuclear and non-nuclear operations will lead to levels of nuclear risk hardly imagined before. This book is the first to confront these risks comprehensively.
With Cyber Threats and Nuclear Weapons, Herbert Lin provides a clear-eyed breakdown of the cyber risks to the U.S. nuclear enterprise. Featuring a series of scenarios that clarify the intersection of cyber and nuclear risk, this book guides readers through a little-understood element of the risk profile that government decision-makers should be anticipating. What might have happened if the Cuban Missile Crisis took place in the age of Twitter, with unvetted information swirling around? What if an adversary announced that malware had compromised nuclear systems, clouding the confidence of nuclear decision-makers?
Cyber Threats and Nuclear Weapons, the first book to consider cyber risks across the entire nuclear enterprise, concludes with crucial advice on how government can manage the tensions between new nuclear capabilities and increasing cyber risk. This is an invaluable handbook for those ready to confront the unique challenges of cyber nuclear risk.
About the author
Herbert Lin is Senior Research Scholar at the Center for International Security and Cooperation and Hank J. Holland Fellow at Stanford University.
"Perhaps the only thing more frightening than nuclear weapons is the thought of those weapons being connected to modern software systems. Herbert Lin, an expert in both realms, has written a sobering, enlightening book that should be required reading for all those thinking about the security of these weapons in the internet age."
—Jim Waldo, Former Distinguished Engineer, Sun Labs
"Herbert Lin is one of this country's leading experts on nuclear and cyber issues. In this important book, he provides a careful but chilling analysis of the risks we face in efforts to modernize the nuclear enterprise. Cyber Threats and Nuclear Weapons should be read carefully in Washington."
—Joseph S. Nye, Jr, Harvard University
"In this wide-ranging and well-crafted book, Herbert Lin wisely encapsulates his careful analysis in a series of easy-to-digest observations, with the policy imperatives that flow from them. The result is a guide for policy makers as they cope with the hair-raising prospect of nuclear modernization amidst increasing cyber risk."
—Rose Gottemoeller, Former Deputy Secretary General of NATO
"Lin's purpose in writing this excellent book is to acknowledge the new and sobering reality that computerization makes nuclear weapons much less secure than readers might assume. Highly recommended."
—J. A. Stever, CHOICE June 2022