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Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent is getting a much needed upgrade to defend it from cyberattacks.
Potential attacks by hackers from Russia, China, ISIS, or organised crime gangs against the software in the nuclear missile system are a “legitimate concern” for defence officials and are prompting an upgrade to bolster the system’s cyber-defensive capabilities.
Unease over the cybersecurity of Trident was amplified last year after a former British Defence Secretary warned that the deterrent would be useless unless the weak spots in its defences could be patched up and defended.
“If they are unable to do that then there is no guarantee that we will have a reliable deterrent or the Prime Minister will be able to use this system when he needs to reach for it,” said Lord Browne of Ladyton.
Now, the US Navy has announced that American and British missiles will be receiving a much needed upgrade as part of a multi-billion move to bolster security.
“Now that cyber has become even more important in our national security, there will be even more requirements. In our modern era, cybersecurity threats are a legitimate concern,” said John Daniels, a spokesman for the US Navy’s nuclear deterrent programme.
The upgrades will be performed by British defence contractor BAE Systems, which performs maintenance of the missiles.
The United States and Britain both “use the same pool of submarine-launched Trident II D5 missiles, but design and build their payloads of nuclear warheads separately,” the Telegraph reports.
“The deterrent remains safe and secure. We take our responsibility to maintain a credible nuclear deterrent extremely seriously and continually assess the security of the whole deterrent programme and its operational effectiveness, including against threats from cyber,” said a British Ministry of Defence spokesperson.