Back in March, Natural News reported that the CIA was planning on using geolocation software to hack into vehicles and carry out assassinations on specific targets. But these revelations, which came from Wikileaks in a massive information dump, pale in comparison to information that has recently been made public by the Daily Mail.
According to a report by the British American Security Information Council, or BASIC, hackers may have the ability to take control of Trident submarines and potentially initiate a “catastrophic” nuclear war. Experts warn that this could lead to a significant and widespread loss of life and would render Britain effectively defenseless against incoming attacks.
The report warns that a security breach could “neutralize operations, lead to loss of life, defeat or perhaps even the catastrophic exchange of nuclear warheads (directly or indirectly).” It goes on to say that while the rapid advancement of technology has made it so that even submarines with the most sophisticated and elaborate security systems can still be hacked, BASIC argues that cyber criminals don’t have the skills to “conduct operations of the required scale and sophistication relevant to penetrating Trident systems.”
“We are not talking about a lone wolf teenager in a basement hacking into the controls of a missile and warhead and starting a nuclear war,” experts explained. “Rather, we consider the most significant threat by some margin originates from the expanding investments by leading states in their offensive cyber capabilities, alongside their existing intelligence networks.”
Trident, which is Britain’s nuclear weapons deterrent, consists of four Vanguard-class submarines, each with the ability to carry 16 Trident II D5 ballistic missiles. Although the subs spend the majority of the time out at sea, the report warns that when the submarines return to port for routine maintenance, they could potentially be injected with malicious software. From there, the software would most likely remain dormant and undetected until the hackers on the opposite end decided to activate it (RELATED: This is what happens when government cyber weapons get loose).
In an interview with The Guardian, former UK Defense Secretary Des Browne explained that threat of nuclear submarine hacking is something that should not be taken lightly. Browne referenced the WannaCry worm attack that affected 300,000 computers worldwide last month and argued that this “was just a taste of what is possible when cyber weapons are stolen.”
Browne argued that it would be “irresponsibly complacent” to believe that “nuclear weapon systems are somehow immune” to hacks or can be “confidently protected by dedicated teams of network managers.”
With technology advancing at such a rapid rate, there’s no doubt that all wars of the future will at least in part be fought using cyber warfare. Hacking will become more and more common, and as the former UK Defense Secretary pointed out in his interview with The Guardian, the results could be catastrophic. Thankfully, the United States is already hard at work looking for ways to beat hackers at their own game.
The U.S. military has proposed 133 teams for a cyber mission force by the year 2018, 27 of which have been directed to support combat missions by “generating integrated cyberspace effects in support of… operations” (the word “effects” in this context is a term commonly used by the military for artillery and aircraft targeting).
As part of their mission, the cyber mission force has been tasked with hacking into the networks used by terror groups like the Islamic State, disrupting communications channels to make it more difficult for our enemies to properly carry out coordinated attacks, and tapping into cell phones to prevent explosive devices from being detonated.
In other words, in a world that is increasingly using cyber attacks to put enemies at a strategic disadvantage, the United States is stepping up to the plate and fighting fire with fire.