Skip to comments.America's feared nuclear missiles still controlled by computers from 1960s & floppy disks
Posted on 04/27/2014 1:30:29 PM PDT by dennisw
America's feared nuclear missile facilities are still controlled by computers from the 1960s and floppy disks
60 Minutes received a tour of the F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming, the storage facility of 450 nuclear warheads and a Minuteman III missile The facility was built in the 1960s to withstand a nuclear attack and alot of its equipment dates back to that time The floppy disks that contain the missile launch codes are safe and effective because it allows center to stay disconnected from the internet and prevent cyber terrorism, the military claims Tour comes in the wake of a major cheating scandal that has implicated 91 Air Force nuclear missile officers, nine of which were fired
The isolated U.S. military silo that contains one of deadliest nuclear arsenals in the world - some 450 warheads that are each 20 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima - is being controlled by computers dating back to 1960s and a launch system that relies on floppy disks.
But security officials maintain their methods are not only functional but hack-free, with the underground control room in Wyoming not connected to the internet, stopping any cyber terrorists gaining control over the weapons.
60 Minutes gained access to the F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne and will broadcast its full report from the facility tonight.
CBS Correspondent Lesley Stahl said she believed the unprecedented invitation to take a look inside was part of a move by the military to show the public their system was safe in the wake of a widespread cheating scandal among their ranks.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
Why isn’t there an app for this? /s
Need to upgrade them to XP.
Software designed for the hardware generally works great.
The target audience is Russa’s Putam not the US public.
That’s if there are any left
Nothing wrong with old technology if it works. And if it’s not connected to the internet then someone has to exploit it the old fashioned way....send in actual people to do the dirty work.
Probably keeps them secure from being hacked.
The country’s in the best of hands.
If I ever meet the guy who invented floppy disks, violence will probably ensue... Just the amount of grief those things caused me during the years when I had to deal with them.
It’s long past time we should convert all the computer control for nuclear weapons, into a Facebook application, so the Preezy can surf and nuke.
Men were sent to the moon and back many times with same, so no cause for concern if these systems have been maintained. Given the current state of things, that’s a question needing to be addressed.
Sounds like it’s a lot more secure than something connected to the Interwebs via a Microsoft product.
So the author doesn’t understand the difference between nuclear and thermonuclear and what a MIRV is?
Who cares, as long as it still works. It’s not like nuclear missiles launch so often that you need a flashy UI for it.
“... computers dating back to 1960s” are MUCH less reliable than computers today. I wonder what the military does for parts for their dinosaurs?
And this, “we’re safe because the computers are ancient relics and aren’t connected to the Internet,” is BS. I suspect it is more like, “we’re safe because our ancient relics CAN’T be connected to the Internet.” Few, if any, computers from the 1960s have Internet capabilities.
And, the most modern computer available today would be just as safe if not connected to the Internet. Probably more safe is it would be much more reliable and less subject to breakdown.
Bottom line is more like, “We, for whatever reason(s) have not kept up with the latest technology.”
I would venture a guess their's ain't much better.
(And it's Putin.)
I can hardly wait until they upgrade the rest of DoD PCs to the IBM XT with an amber monitor.
If they were really 1960’s technology, they’d be using punch cards.
No, it’s obviously 4-3-2-1-0
I left out some zeros, there should be eight.
The hardware is mostly very modern. A least third generation 360s -- maybe even 370s :)
I didn't see where it said that they literally are using floppy disk. Just the data originally on floppies I figure.
"Shall. we. play. a. game?"
“We’ll meet again....don’t know where....don’t know when........”
Leslie Stahl is trying out for the part of Jane Curtin on SNL
Ask the Iranians what happens if your most sensitive computer systems are networked.
If they do the full tour, you will get to see the pale green walls, the giant shock absorbers that the site rests on and the cool way things were done back then.
I miss those days working at the LCF’s at Ellsworth.
I’m more worried about them being controlled by 1960’s hippies.
That may be a good thing. How many hackers still know how to attack a 1960’s puter.
Being hack-free is a major advantage imo.
Like our pothead president member of The Choom Gang
I came into computers in 1997 which I am sure is later than you. I always had problems with them and with 100mb zip disks. There was always problems reading them and having them fail completely. My first flash drive was 64mb and failed. They were dodgy too but no problems w flash drives now
The ChiComs and the Russians will lobby someone here (Maybe Odinga himself, depending on his flexibility) to order an update to the military’s software and get connected to the internet. Problem solved.
Kings Quest, correct?
I served as a Missile Combat Crew Member at FE Warren in the 80’s. If I remember correctly the Launch Control Centers had a piece of equipment called a Memory Control Group that was used for data storage. It had all of 64KB of memory! The missiles had pre-designated target data, if you had to change this data, you would have to enter the new data into a keyboard. Needless to say, if you effed this up you were a assessed a critical error! Our comm gear was garbage too, if you’ve ever seen the movie “Crimson Tide” they sent a messsage via the Survivable Low Frequency System (SLFCS), we use to code this damned thing up to encrypt messages using a stylus! The equipment we used back then was archaic, I can only imagine what it’s like now.
Ahhh, the “click of death”. I remember it well.
“General, the machine has locked us out! It is sending random numbers to the silos!” “Well, just unplug the goddamn thing!”
Yep, good eye.
You always beat me. Kudos.
This kind of ancient technology is probably almost impossible to hack, internet or no internet. Binary assembly code, and who knows if the source is even available. I remember guys debugging operating systems on CDC 7600 “supercomputers” by attaching homemade hardware rigs to register units to figure out why their code didn’t work.
What difference does it make?
Obama has already taken their use “off the table” and he’s guiding America towards a plan of ZERO nuclear weapons.
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