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Home > Reviews > Hacking the Bomb

Hacking the Bomb

Author Andrew Futter

ISBN No 9781626165656

Review date 19/05/2019

No of pages 208

Publisher Georgetown University Press

Publisher URL

Year of publication 28/03/2018


Our Review


£ Paperback $29.95

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 study of the cyber threat to nuclear weapons.

Hacking the Bomb provides a first 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".

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.

In April Dr Futter will be travelling to Sciences Po in Paris for the first of a series of book launches in Europe and the United States.

See also Chatham House downloadable paper 'Cybersecurity of Nuclear Weapons Systems: Threats, Vulnerabilities and Consequences'.


Foreword by Lord Browne of Ladyton

Introduction: WarGames Redux?

Part 1: The Nature of the Challenge
1. What Exactly Do We Mean by the Cyber Challenge?
2. How and Why Might Nuclear Systems Be Vulnerable?

Part 2: What Might Hackers Do to Nuclear Systems?
3. Stealing Nuclear Secrets
4. Could Cyberattcks Lead to Nuclear Use or Stop Systems from Working?

Part 3: The Cyber-Nuclear Nexus at the Strategic Level
5. Cyberdeterrence, Nuclear Weapons, and Managing Strategic Threats
6. A Cyber-Nuclear Security Dilemma, Nuclear Stability, and Crisis Management

Part 4: Challenges for Our Cyber-Nuclear Future
7. Nuclear Weapons Modernization, Advanced Conventional Weapons, and the Future Global Nuclear Environment

Conclusion:Managing Our Cyber-Nuclear Future