America’s nuclear arsenal still relies on floppy disks (and it’s intentional)

americas nuclear arsenal requires floppy disks use secure nukes plus

According to a 60 Minutes report, some U.S. troops in charge of safeguarding and operating parts of the nation’s stockpile of nuclear weapons employ floppy disks in order to do so.

Floppy disks, which were commonly found in home computers up through most the 1980s and maybe even early 1990s, have been phased out for ages. However, they still are in active duty at missile sites here in the states.

Despite the fact that floppy disks are ancient pieces of tech, at least one member of the military claims that using such dated gear, as opposed to more modern storage media, grants the nation’s armed forces and its nuclear installations some very important security perks. 

When speaking with 60 Minutes reporter Lesley Stahl, Maj. Gen. Jack Weinstein, who according to the piece is “in charge” of all 450 land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) here in the U.S., says that “those older systems provide us some, I will say huge safety when it comes to some cyber issues that we currently have in the world.”

When Stahl asked Maj. Gen. Weinstein to explain further, he stated that a “complete analysis” of the “entire network” was conducted by “cyber engineers.”  The engineers recommended that the analog system be kept the way it is now, finding that was it very safe and secure. Since the system is not connected to the Internet, it can’t be infiltrated by hackers. The missile site featured in the 60 Minutes report also uses computers that date back to the 1960s, but as with the floppy disks, they’re still in use because of security concerns and recommendations.

This is akin to reports of agencies in the Russian government reverting to paper documents and type writers for composing sensitive material, as opposed to computers. The same rationale is employed in this case as well: if the machines you’re using are not connected to the Internet, there aren’t any Web-based security issues to deal with.

Maj. Gen. Weinstein also said that system upgrades are on the way, but they’ll only come in the next “few years.” However, Stahl reports that the military pledged to spend $19 million to upgrade its nuclear launch control centers and silos, and is asking for more than $600 million next year in order to make “further improvements,” though it’s unclear what those could be.

Watch the report for yourself below.

Gaming

‘Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’: Everything you need to know

Ubisoft will release Assassin's Creed Odyssey in October for consoles and PC. Here is everything you need to know about the next chapter of Assassin's Creed, including the story and setting.
Home Theater

Looking to cut cable? Here’s everything you need to know about Pluto TV

Pluto TV offers plenty of entertainment in a fashion similar to live internet TV services, only at no cost — you don’t even need to register. Too good to be true? Here’s everything you need to know.
Home Theater

Here’s how to mirror your smartphone or tablet onto your TV

A vast arsenal of devices exists to allow sending anything on your mobile device to your TV. Our in-depth guide shows you how to mirror content from your smartphone or tablet to the big screen from virtually any device available.
Movies & TV

Hulu with Live TV expands its channel lineup in new deal with Discovery

Not sure which Hulu subscription is right for you? We're here to help. This is your complete guide to Hulu and Hulu with Live TV, including content offerings for each service, pricing, internet requirements, and more.
Emerging Tech

Neural networks? Machine learning? Here's your secret decoder for A.I. buzzwords

Don't know your machine learning from your evolutionary algorithms? Worried every time you sit on a bus in case Google's Larry Page sits down next to you with a pop quiz? Our handy A.I. buzzword guide is here to help.
Computing

Need to convert video in a flash? These free apps and services will do the job

Devices that are capable of playing video can be a picky bunch to say the least. Fortunately, the best free video converters can render format issues a thing of the past. Here are our current favorites.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Self-balancing skates, tiny tripods, and more

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Computing

Release of Nvidia's RTX 2080 Ti GPUs will be delayed by a week

Nvidia's new RTX 2000 series graphics cards are impressive pieces of hardware, with some amazing advancements and some rather high price tags to match. Here's everything you need to know about Nvidia's new top-tier cards.
Computing

Don't buy a new router, fix your Wi-Fi with these quick tips

Don't panic when your Wi-Fi goes down. Instead, fix it. These simple solutions to the most common Wi-Fi Problems will get you back online at high speed in no time (hopefully) without buying a new router.
Computing

Our favorite gaming desktops make the latest consoles look pathetic

PC gaming doesn't always come cheap, but it doesn't have to be extortionate either. In this guide we've put together a list of the best gaming PCs you can buy, with everything from the big and flashy, to the super compact.
Computing

These 15-inch laptops are both powerhouses, but which should you buy?

The Asus ZenBook Pro 15 UX580 offers an innovative twist on the tried-and-true touchpad: the LCD-equipped ScreenPad. That's not all that Asus has up its sleeve, but is it all enough to compete?
Mobile

This orange puck keeps you online in any country, with one hidden catch

Staying connected on your travels can be a challenge and sometimes results in hefty cell phone bills you could do without. We tried out the Skyroam Solis, a global Wi-Fi hotspot and power bank billed as the perfect solution.
Computing

Don't spend hundreds on Pro Tools or Logic. Try one of these free alternatives

Believe it or not, Pro Tools isn't the only digital audio workstation worth your time. Check out our picks for the best free recording software, whether you're looking for a lightweight app or a full-blown audio workstation. Updated meta…
Computing

Microsoft may go back to black with 2018 Surface Pro and Surface Laptop

Microsoft may be adding black as a color option to its refreshed Surface Laptop and Surface Pro models on October 2nd. Rumors of the new color along with an image of the black Surface Laptop popped up over the weekend.