Old 8-inch floppy disks are used to control US nuclear missiles

8 inch floppy disk us missile forces

I am amazed at how computer technology has advanced the past three decades. I am one of those fortunate ones able to use an 8-inch floppy disk to play Prince of Persia and many other retro games. I was still a child then but then I could remember how my parents owned different colored floppy disks. And then in college, I happened to save my whole thesis on a 3.5-inch floppy disk. (I’m giving away my age here…)

Believe it or not, 8-inch floppy disks are still being used these days. No, not just as retro displays framed in some museum but as “missileers” for the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles. To launch the missiles, the floppy disks are part of the system that controls them. This seems old but it still is safe and secure according to cyber engineers.

A communication system formerly known as Strategic Air Command Digital Network (SACDIN) uses floppy disks. It’s a system that sends launch commands to US missile forces as described and shared by CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Leslie Stahl.

The entire network was previously analysed and it was found out that it’s relatively still safe to use according to Major General Jack Weinstein, ICBM forces commander, in an interview with 60 Minutes.

It’s analog alright but not all systems are like that and that it is still in perfect condition.The launch control centres are expected to be upgraded this with a $19 million and another $600 million for next year.

[via ArsTechnica, CBSNews]

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