Science and Tech


Watchdog: Nuclear Security Needs To Account For Cyberattacks

The Nuclear Threat Initiative says over 40 percent of nuclear nations don't have any way to prevent digital intrusion or attack.
Posted at 5:23 PM, Jan 16, 2016

Nuclear security is a big deal, but a new watchdog report finds more than 40 percent of nuclear nations aren't doing anything to protect themselves from digital attackers.

The Nuclear Threat Initiative analyzed publicly available data on nuclear security and found 20 countries across the world that haven't taken steps to protect facilities from cyberattacks.

Seven of 24 countries with weapons-grade nuclear materials didn't meet any of NTI's cybersecurity benchmarks. It was worse in countries that have nuclear facilities but no weapons-grade nuclear materials: 13 of 23 nations didn't score any points.

This is the first time NTI has included digital vulnerabilities in its nuclear scoring. The organization said as cyberwarfare accelerates, "such challenges will only continue to grow."

See the success of Stuxnet, which was designed to damage and destroy Iran's nuclear enrichment centrifuges. 

And more recently, a cyberattack in Ukraine that's thought to be one of the first direct digital attacks on a physical power grid.

The NTI's report comes ahead of the fourth Nuclear Security Summit in March in Washington, D.C., where the U.S. intends to push for higher standards of protection.

This video includes images from Jaime Carrion / CC BY 3.0. Music by MADS / CC BY 3.0.