According to a new study by the international relations thinktank Chatham House, nuclear weapon systems in the US and UK are increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks.

The report brought attention to those involved in the procurement of weapons and nuclear military planning, who have blamed the faults on the lack of skilled staff and slowness of institutional change.

The author of the report said:“Nuclear weapons systems were developed before the advancement of computer technology and little consideration was given to potential cyber vulnerabilities.

Digital tech in nuclear systems

“As a result, the current nuclear strategy often overlooks the widespread use of digital technology in nuclear systems.”

Nuclear weapons systems are under threat from criminal groups, hostile states and terrorist organisations exploiting cyber vulnerabities, according to the report.

The report continued: “The likelihood of attempted cyber attacks on nuclear weapons systems is relatively high and increasing from advanced persistent threats from states and non-state groups.

North Korea’s missile system

“The report cited that in April last year the US could have crashed the supply chain of North Korea’s missile system that contributed to a test failure.

“There are a number of vulnerabilities and pathways through which a malicious actor may infiltrate a nuclear weapons system without a state’s knowledge.

“Human error, systems failures, design vulnerabilities and susceptibilities within the supply chain all represent common security issues in nuclear weapons systems.”

The report Cybersecurity of Nuclear Weapons Systems: Threats, Vulnerabilities, and Consequences was written by Beyza Unal, a research fellow at London-based Chatham House.

Written by Leah Alger