THE US defence force is running parts of its nuclear arsenal on 40-year-old 8in floppy disks and IBM Series/1 computers.
The Government Accountability Office has audited the department and come to the alarming conclusion that there are a number of "legacy systems" in need of urgent upgrading.
"This system remains in use because, in short, it still works," said Pentagon spokeswoman lieutenant colonel Valerie Henderson.
Well, we have a Commodore 64 in the office but we wouldn't entrust the future of mankind to it. So, basically, it's like Heartbleed only it could actually kill us all.
Henderson added that the system will be upgraded by the end of 2017, and the Pentagon is said to be planning a full system overhaul for its intercontinental ballistic missiles, bombers and tanker support aircraft.
The audit also found that much of the tech is run on Assembly Language code dating back to the 1950s, a time when we still hadn't eradicated polio.
Another report found recently that the nuclear weapons, which date back to the Cold War, are themselves in a state of disrepair (thank goodness) and will need billions to be brought back up to standard. It's an interesting angle for those debating the validity of upgrading Trident.
The US Office of Management and Budget has begun the process of updating its legacy systems, "but until this policy is finalised and fully executed, the government runs the risk of maintaining systems that have outlived their effectiveness".
It is estimated that the US government currently spends three times as much on keeping old systems working as on developing new ones. The US Department of Defence is not alone, but it's the one that's likely to destroy us all.
We can't always blame the tech, though. Two US button pushers caused a security bork in 2008 by simply falling asleep at their posts.
There are problems in the UK too, of course. The UK Department for Work and Pensions (aka Monty Burns) advertised at the start of last year for someone who could handle the ageing 1970s systems still in use. µ
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