Cyber Security and Nuclear Weapons

This project aims to improve resilience in NATO’s nuclear weapons systems against cyber threats.

The control room inside the Paks nuclear power plant in Hungary. Photo: Bloomberg/Contributor

Cyber security is a vital part of the national and international strategic infrastructure and weapons systems. The increasing cyber capabilities of countries such as China, Russia and North Korea put the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO’s) nuclear systems - capabilities that include nuclear command, control and communication, weapons systems and early warning systems - in danger.

There is an urgent need to study and address cyber challenges to nuclear assets within NATO and in key NATO countries. Greater awareness of the potential threats and vulnerabilities is key to improving preparedness and mitigating the risks of a cyber-attack on NATO nuclear weapons systems.

Chatham House produces research responding to the need for information on enhancing cybersecurity for command, control and communications. This project constitutes the beginning of the second phase of the Cyber Security of Nuclear Weapons Systems: Threats, Vulnerabilities and Consequences, a report published in January 2018 in partnership with the Stanley Foundation.

The project responds to the need both for more public information on cyber risks in NATO’s nuclear mission, and to provide policy-driven research to shape and inform nuclear policy within NATO member states and the Nuclear Planning Group.

This project is supported by the Ploughshares Fund and the Stanley Foundation.