The US Military Stops Using Floppy Disks For Nuclear Launches
Mike Sanders / 4 weeks ago
It’s always mildly disconcerting when you hear that a rather antiquated piece of technology is still in use for a particularly important job and in terms of computing, it doesn’t get much more antiquated than floppy disks. Well, perhaps with the exception of cassette tapes. There is, however, always the argument that if it’s not broken, it doesn’t need fixing, right?
Well, I suppose it depends on exactly what the job is. I remember hearing of an instance a couple of years ago where an old Sinclair computer had effectively been permanently running since the late ’80s. In that instance, however, it was only used in a school to coordinate the bell rings. Incidentally, it was doing a damn fine job at it too!
You may, however, find it somewhat alarming to know that the US military was using an old IBM (ICBM?) computer and an 8″ floppy disk to effectively be in control of coordinating nuclear missile launches in case of war. The good news is that in a report via Engadget, this has now been replaced!
US Military Replaces 8″ Floppy Disks That Controlled Coordination of Nuclear Strikes
So, you might wonder what this computer actually did. Well, you may know (if you played Metal Gear Solid) that any nuclear launch has to be authorized by codes that only the US President holds. Well, in basic terms, this computer was what those codes would have (hypothetically) been put into. I bet even Revolver Ocelet didn’t know that!
You may wonder why such an antiquated system (originally switched on in the ’70s) was still in use. Well, it wasn’t simply a case of the US Government being lazy in its upgrades. It did have a perk that has grown more significant in recent times.
What Has It Been Upgraded To?
Despite it being seemingly crazy that such an old system was still being used, there was a method to the madness. How could this possibly be the case, though? Well, being an off-line system, it was absolutely 100% impervious to any hacking attempts.
With the system now being converted to a “highly-secure solid-state digital storage solution,” we can only hope that this is as secure as the military thinks it is! God knows how long that’s going to remain in place though!
What do you think? Are you disturned that floppy disks were still part of the nuclear launch loop? In addition, when was the last time (if ever) you used a floppy disk? – Let us know in the comments!