Hacking the Bomb

cover art
208 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781626165649 (1626165645)

208 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9781626165656 (1626165653)

April 2018
LC: 2017035576



Hacking the Bomb
Cyber Threats and Nuclear Weapons
Andrew Futter
Foreword by Lord Des Browne

Are nuclear arsenals safe from cyber-attack? Could terrorists launch a nuclear weapon through hacking? Are we standing at the edge of a major technological challenge to global nuclear order? These are among the many pressing security questions addressed in Andrew Futter's ground-breaking study of the cyber threat to nuclear weapons.

Hacking the Bomb provides the first ever comprehensive assessment of this worrying and little-understood strategic development, and it explains how myriad new cyber challenges will impact the way that the world thinks about and manages the ultimate weapon. The book cuts through the hype surrounding the cyber phenomenon and provides a framework through which to understand and proactively address the implications of the emerging cyber-nuclear nexus. It does this by tracing the cyber challenge right across the nuclear weapons enterprise, explains the important differences between types of cyber threats, and unpacks how cyber capabilities will impact strategic thinking, nuclear balances, deterrence thinking, and crisis management. The book makes the case for restraint in the cyber realm when it comes to nuclear weapons given the considerable risks of commingling weapons of mass disruption with weapons of mass destruction, and argues against establishing a dangerous norm of "hacking the bomb."

This timely book provides a starting point for an essential discussion about the challenges associated with the cyber-nuclear nexus, and will be of great interest to scholars and students of security studies as well as defense practitioners and policy makers.

Andrew Futter is an associate professor in the School of History, Politics, and International Relations at the University of Leicester. He is the author of The Politics of Nuclear Weapons and Ballistic Missile Defence and US National Security Policy, the editor of The United Kingdom and the Future of Nuclear Weapons, and co-editor of Reassessing the Revolution in Military Affairs.

"Nuclear strategy is hard - but cyber operations makes it harder. In this thorough and insightful work, Andrew Futter skillfully weaves the many threads binding cyberspace and the nuclear establishment to urge caution for those who would ignore or promote cyberwar on nuclear capabilities. Strategists of all flavors, take note."—Martin Libicki, Author, Cyberspace in Peace and War

""If you are bothered by the fact that our top security officials cannot determine with high confidence whether computer malware or other hacking could cause Russian, Chinese, or U.S. nuclear missiles to be illicitly fired, you should read this book. If you are bothered by the fact that cyber operations could confuse leaders into launching nuclear missiles during a crisis, you should read this book. If you are not bothered because you are not aware of such dangers, you should read this book. Professor Futter asks all the right questions about the myriad dangers that information warfare poses to the command and control of nuclear forces, and illuminates the answers to the extent that current knowledge allows. His important and provocative book also connects the cyber issues to the major risks of nuclear instability and accidents, providing rich context for his analysis. A cross between historical investigation, policy analysis, and theory, this is a must-read volume for anyone who cares about this perilous new threat to mankind."—Bruce G. Blair, Research Scholar, Princeton University. Co-Founder, Global Zero