New report says critical nuclear weapon systems could be at risk of getting hacked

WASHINGTON DC — We’ve all seen how devastating a cyber attack can be on private or public organizations when they’re targeted.

Now, a new watchdog report says the government agency in charge of overseeing nuclear weapons needs to do a better job of protecting itself against cyber attacks.

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Channel 2 Washington correspondent Samantha Manning spoke to experts who say these critical systems are at risk of getting hacked.

A new report points out that our current nuclear weapons were developed during the Cold War, a time before we were really worried about cyber attacks, but the government has worked over the last two decades to modernize the digital system for tracking the nuclear stockpile, and that means it also needs to be protected against cyber criminals.

It’s an agency many people may not even know about, called the National Nuclear Security Administration.


It is in charge of maintaining the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile and it works to reduce the global danger from weapons of mass destruction.

“We work with different agencies such as FBI, DOD, special forces, in a defense function for our nation.,” an NNSA spokesperson said.

The report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that NNSA and its contractors have not fully implemented all of the critical cybersecurity risk practices.

According to the findings, without these steps, NNSA limits its “ability to effectively respond to emerging cyber threats.”

The report gives nine recommendations for NNSA, which include yearly reviews of its cybersecurity risk management strategy.

Members of Congress have heard testimony over the last year from cybersecurity experts about the growing threat of cyber attacks.

“Our nation is facing unprecedented cybersecurity risks,” said Eric Goldstein, from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

“DoeOE/NNSA recognizes the importance of cybersecurity, including nuclear weapon cybersecurity, and has taken positive steps to address the ever-growing digital threat to our programs,” an NNSA spokesperson said in response.

NNSA says it is taking steps to address each recommendation made in this report.

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