Stuxnet illustrated the art of the possible in the cyber-nuclear space. This malware defeated security systems, jumped iargaps (which disconnect networks from the internet) and, most importantly, caused physical consequences. Stuxnet’s aim was limited-break centrifuges. But what if hackers had more catastrophic ambitions?
Hot off the heels of the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit, the international community is once again abuzz with plans to secure nuclear materials and thwart the efforts of terrorists to acquire these materials. Chief among these efforts is securing nuclear and radiological materials. Are these efforts the same, though? The answer is a resounding “No.”
The Project on Nuclear Issues hosted a discussion with C.J. Chivers on nuclear smuggling in the Middle East. Chivers, a former marine and Pulitzer Prize-winning investigator with the New York Times, has reported from the front lines of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and more, analyzing conflicts and the weapons that fuel them. One of Chivers’ recent features, “The Doomsday Scam,” revealed how ISIS and other terrorist groups have pursued a fictional weapon-making substance known as red mercury. Chivers, who has been called “the greatest war reporter in a generation,” will share his unique insight about the possibilitiy of terrorist groups obtaining nuclear materials, where they could be bought, and how the international community should respond if a terrorist group were to acquire nuclear material, or some other weapon of mass destruction. The discussion was moderated by Rebecca Hersman, Director, Project on Nuclear Issues, and Senior Adviser, International Security Program, CSIS.
In a recent piece of nuclear news easily overshadowed by the Iran deal, teh Center for Public Integrity (CPI) highlighted new information about South Africa’s refusal to give up six bombs worth of weapons-grade uranium. In 2011 and agian in 2013, President Obama wrote letters to South African President Jacob Zuma asking him to relinquish the country’s highly-enriched uranium, to blend it down to low-enriched uranium (LEU), or to transfer it to the United States in exchang for $5 million worth of LEU. President Zuma refused.