Thermonuclear war almost unleashed a computer program of NORAD - VIDEO PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 20 February 2015 23:59

In the early morning November 9, 1979, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was national security adviser under President Jimmy Carter, was awakened by a terrible phone call. According to information received by NORAD, the Soviet Union launched 250 intercontinental ballistic missiles in the direction of America.

After the first call, the phone rang again Brzezinski, and NORAD officials reported that the missiles already released 2200. It was a moment that scared every American who lived during the Cold War, and at the same time the US government has not been possible (or desire) to notify his people about the imminent imminent death around the world.

Brzezinski did not even bother to wake his sleeping wife. He realized that everyone he has ever known, soon die, and therefore saw no reason to disturb her. The only thing he thought, before taking these steps, it is about the grim post-apocalyptic world, which will have to face all mankind soon.

"I knew that if this message would be true, for about half an hour I have, all my relatives and friends, all of Washington and most of America will be erased from the face of the Earth. And I wanted to make sure that someone will disappear with us for the company ", - said Brzezinski his biographer in 2011.

In other words, Brzezinski wanted to make sure that if you attack the Soviet Union was a reality, then the consequences would have been much more than just a little hole in the background of the Earth. If the US really threatened to end, America would try to pick "commies" with them.

However, before the adoption of the following measures - to direct the call to the US president and the subsequent beginning of a thermonuclear war - Brzezinski wanted to get confirmation of the heading in the direction of the US missiles. In the past, were false alarms, but this seemed more real. Fortunately, before informing President Carter, Brzezinski was the third call, in which he was told that none of the other security systems (in addition to NORAD) has not recorded signals of the attack.

So what happened? And why did this happen? And the following happened: a computer program destined to simulate a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union was filed through a network NORAD. As a result, the host computer NORAD, as well as all the people who worked on the network, took the event of a real attack by the enemy.

Illustration air command post. Image 1973 of the National Security Archive United States

Even despite the fact that the president was not informed in real time and learned about the incident only after some time, many taken further steps could really provoke the beginning of World War III. In the sky rose ten US and Canadian fighters, who have been facing a mission that can change life on our planet for many, many generations to come.

It should be noted that this case is connected with one very ironic episode. In the event of a nuclear war in the United States in the 1960s, a plan was developed. In the event of a threat the president had to climb aboard a special plane and give instructions on how to proceed with the air. The irony is that the aircraft (which is a mobile air command center) in the history of NORAD really took off, only without the president on board.

When an incident in 1979 for the first time received wide publicity in the American press, it tried to apply, so that in fact no real security threat to the US, he had no idea. Nevertheless, the same newspapers became evident and clear that the president was not timely informed about the incident (which could even somehow reassure the public), not to mention the fact that timely yet been informed National Security Advisor, who decided in the end to stay at home and contemplate on the response and those he loves and loved.

In the book "Cybersecurity: Background» (Cybersecurity: A Pre-history) authored by Michael Warner this incident is described by a very good point, "Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life" made by the writer Oscar Wilde.

    "In the case of" imitation art of living "popular thriller" War Games "in 1983 is quite realistic adapts similar scenario. President Ronald Reagan was so impressed by the film and Matthew Broderick, who played the young hacker, hack the computer system of national security, that even the mention of the story at a meeting of members of Congress and the leading staff of the American army. As for the expression "life imitates art", the high school students from the city of MilwaUKee inspired by all the same film organized hacker group called "414" (the first digit dialing code) and proved in the summer of the same year, that even ordinary Students can access the nonsecure protocols military departments. "

How was it possible to defend against such potential false alarms, such as the one that occurred in 1979? One solution was to build a simulation test for NORAD center cost $ 16 million to prevent the use of their internal networks for modeling of potential threats. According to the report, it was absolutely necessary measure of caution to avoid the possibility of manifestation of false alarms again.

However, in subsequent years, false alarms and the USSR, and the United States have repeatedly witnessed false alarms caused by imperfect technology, machinery and software. In 1980 alone, these false reports were at least three.

Another occurred on the night of September 26, 1983 in the USSR. Who was on duty at the command post SerpUKhov-15, Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov actually stopped the beginning of World War III. At that time, the Cold War reached its critical tension. Up to a limit situation escalated after shot down over Soviet territory twice violated the airspace of South Korean passenger "747".

The command post of SerpUKhov-15 received information from the running year earlier space-based surveillance system "eye". When there is a threat of a missile strike Government shall be immediately notified, and then took the decision to further action and retaliation.

So, that night computer Petrov told about what happened launch intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) with the American bases in the USSR. However, to quickly analyze the situation, Peter decided that it was a mistake and false positives. The fact that the computer is shown that "starts" were produced from a single point and consisted of only a few MDBs. As it later became known, the cause of false positives was the illumination of Sunlight sensor satellite, which is reflected by high-altitude clouds. After this incident cosmic system upgraded to avoid such false alarms.

It is interesting here is that, due to political and military secrecy of the incident became widely known only in 1993, when a brief history of these events has been published at the time of the incident commander Troops missile and space defense of the USSR YV Votintseva. In 2006, Stanislav Petrov was invited to the UN headquarters, where he was awarded a special prize of the international organization "Association of World Citizens" engraved with the inscription: "A man who prevented a nuclear war."

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