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Report of Note: Hacking UK Trident: A Growing Threat
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Hacking UK Trident: A Growing Threat
Stanislav Abaimov and Paul Ingram, British American Security Information Council, June 2017

Researchers Stanislav Abaimov and Paul Ingram assess the potential for a cyberattack against the United Kingdom’s nuclear-armed Vanguard-class submarines. The two researchers assess the types of vulnerabilities that terrorists or hostile states might seek to exploit. For the submarines, the issues involve the security of the vessels and their systems, control software for the missiles armed with Trident II D-5 nuclear warheads, and the secret designs and operational intelligence involving the vessel, weapons systems, crew, and directives. “The very possibility of cyberattack and the growing capability to launch them against [ballistic missile submarines] could have a severe impact upon the confidence of maintaining an assured second-strike capability and therefore on strategic stability between states,” they conclude. The UK House of Commons voted July 18, 2016, to build a fleet of Dreadnought-class submarines to be operational by the 2060s. In light of their findings, Abaimov and Ingram say that it is “crystal clear that the highest level of priority must be given to cyberprotection at every stage” of construction.—SAMANTHA PITZ

Posted: July 10, 2017