the high risk of nuclear conflict

This frightens me.

[The US, according to a draft document seen by the New York Times, is] on the point of revising its defence policy — to allow the use of nuclear weapons … in response to “attempts to destroy wide-reaching infrastructure, like a country’s power grid or communications, that would be most vulnerable to cyberweapons”. ….

[This] demonstrates how seriously the US is now taking the threat of cyber warfare; and is clearly designed to massively increase America’s deterrence capacity.

At the same time, however, the policy shift carries considerable risks. By lowering the bar to the first use of nuclear weapons, it makes nuclear war more thinkable. The dangers of such a move are increased because concerns about nuclear proliferation are mounting — with North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme making rapid progress, and both Pakistan and Russia incorporating the early use of nuclear weapons into their war-fighting plans.

Gideon Rachman, “Nuclear weapons are a risky defence against cyber attacks“, Financial Times, 19 February 2017 (gated paywall).

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