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Could Cyber-Terrorists Provoke Nuclear Attacks? 183

Hugh Pickens writes "The Guardian reports that according to a study commissioned by the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament (ICNND), a joint initiative of the Australian and Japanese Governments, terrorists could use information warfare techniques to make a nuclear attack more likely — triggering a catastrophic chain of events that may be an easier alternative 'than building or acquiring a nuclear weapon or dirty bomb themselves.' While the possibility of a radical group gaining access to actual launch systems is remote, the study suggests that terrorists could focus on feeding in false information further down the chain — or spreading fake information to officials in a carefully orchestrated strike. According to the study 'Hacking Nuclear Command and Control' [PDF], cyber-terrorists could 'provoke a nuclear launch by spoofing early warning and identification systems or by degrading communications networks.' Since command and control systems are placed at a higher degree of exploitation due to the need for rapid decisions under high pressure with limited intelligence, cyber-terrorists 'would not need deception that could stand up over time; they would only need to be believable in the first 15 minutes or so.'"

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