Expert Wants Nuclear Plants Taken ‘Off the Table’ in Cyber-Warfare


One U.S. cybersecurity expert is arguing that world nations should jointly pledge they will spare civil nuclear facilities from computer attacks for humanitarian reasons.

Bruce McConnell co-authored a January 2014 report for the EastWest Institute that describes nuclear information security as a “signature security issue of the information age,” decrying that the topic has received too little attention. “There is a moral and political judgment to be made about humanitarian impacts, even in wartime, of potential release of large amounts of radiation by attacking targets like a nuclear power station,” he contends.

McConnell held various cybersecurity-related jobs during his roughly four-year tenure at the Department of Homeland Security. He left government service last year to join the New York office of the EastWest Institute as a senior vice president and manager of the think tank’s Cooperation in Cyberspace Program.

The recommendation to formulate an international agreement for banning technological assaults on nuclear facilities aligns with conventional wisdom that attackers’ capabilities will always be a step ahead of virtual defenses, McConnell told Global Security Newswire in a May 13 telephone interview. Critical infrastructure — including nuclear-power facilities — is especially..

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