Accidental Nuclear War Could Be Imminent

An accidental nuclear war is in the offing, according to one of Europe’s leading cyber-warfare experts.

I’ll just let that sink in for a mo.

Dr. Sandro Gaycken, director of the Digital Society Institute at the ESMT Berlin business school and director of NATO’s SPS Cyberdefence project, has invoked what I’m going to characterize as the Dr Strangelove effect: As governments spend their time wrangling over irrelevant matters, endemic incompetence when it comes to the highly complex problem of keeping nuclear arsenals safe from ne’er-do-wells could be their undoing—and everybody else’s.

Great, that’s just great. I already have to worry about global warming and asteroids and global flu pandemics and the super-volcano under Yellowstone and the advent of “bro rompers”—bro rompers, for heaven’s sake!—and now this. We’re back to that whole mutual assured destruction thing I had hoped to leave behind in the 1980s.

As an aside, I would like to point out that information on the potential eruption of the Yellowstone caldera is listed under “things to see and do” in the park. I think they should add a separate section entitled simply, “Doomsday Notice”—it would make a lot more sense.


In a paper published on the ESMT Berlin website, Gayken writes, “Governments are barely able to cope when it comes to key issues such as digital pickpocketing—they simply do not understand the problem, its causes or possible solutions. And they struggle to get sufficient numbers of specialized cyber-experts to help—instead relying on hordes or lobbyists, pseudo-experts and opportunists. They cannot separate the wheat from the chaff.”

Gaycken goes on to talk mushroom clouds (natch):

“A cyberattack could, for instance, lead to computers crashing and setting off nuclear weapons inadvertently—Russia’s ‘Dead Hand’ system could be susceptible to this. In another scenario, the infected computers do not switch off, but react in an unpredictable fashion. In that scenario—anything is possible.”

Anything is possible??

But wait! There’s more! It would seem that the similarity between systems in China, Pakistan and North Korea could lead to one bug destabilizing the entire region’s nuclear arsenal.

“All of these systems have a similar technical set-up—meaning that if a cyberattack intended for one of them finds its way into the computers controlling either of the other’s, we could have a situation where up to 3,000 nuclear missiles are affected by one attack,” he said.

Well, I for one am going to go on record here and say that none of this is very reassuring for those of us interested in avoiding extinction.

What is happening in the world?

They had their day in the sun—for about five decades as a matter of fact, before taking a less important role post-Cold War. Wasn’t that enough? Why don’t we take steps to safeguard those stores so we can move on to other things—like the fact that the US president could soon be impeached, North Korea seems on the verge of having a real functioning ICBM (for conventional as well as nuclear detonations—you know, options for the discerning dictator), and Britain’s very possible re-election of Theresa “Mayhem” to the PM position despite all of the buyer’s remorse about Brexit. Plus, at college campuses in the States students are hyper-concerned over the phrase “you guys” being a microagression against women, and then…did I mention the bro rompers?

So come on, guys (errr—“people”—I wouldn’t want to microaggress)—we have enough to worry about, culturally and politically, without nukes becoming a bigger part of the proceedings than they already are. Let’s put some resources in here so we can all move on.

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