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US stopped using floppy disks to manage nuclear weapons arsenal

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posted on Oct, 19 2019 @ 08:29 PM
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The US Air Force has quietly replaced the infamous floppy disks it was using to manage the country's nuclear arsenal with what sources described as a "highly-secure solid state digital storage solution."

The switch reportedly took place in June this year, according to defense news site C4ISRNET, citing Lt. Col. Jason Rossi, commander of the Air Force's 595th Strategic Communications Squadron.




US stopped using floppy disks to manage nuclear weapons arsenal

When I first heard years ago that they were still using floppy disks I thought it was crazy. Then I had it explained to me how it made the systems more secure because they were using old OS's and computers. The system they were using were IBM Series/1 mainframes from 1968/1970.

Some interesting information in this story. Is this saying the system is in some way connected to the internet? I sure hope not.



"You can't hack something that doesn't have an IP address. It's a very unique system - it is old and it is very good," Lt. Col. Rossi told C4ISRNET. "I joke with people and say it's the Air Force's oldest IT system. But it's the age that provides that security."




posted on Oct, 19 2019 @ 08:34 PM
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originally posted by: LookingAtMars


The US Air Force has quietly replaced the infamous floppy disks it was using to manage the country's nuclear arsenal with what sources described as a "highly-secure solid state digital storage solution."

The switch reportedly took place in June this year, according to defense news site C4ISRNET, citing Lt. Col. Jason Rossi, commander of the Air Force's 595th Strategic Communications Squadron.




US stopped using floppy disks to manage nuclear weapons arsenal

When I first heard years ago that they were still using floppy disks I thought it was crazy. Then I had it explained to me how it made the systems more secure because they were using old OS's and computers. The system they were using were IBM Series/1 mainframes from 1968/1970.

Some interesting information in this story. Is this saying the system is in some way connected to the internet? I sure hope not.



"You can't hack something that doesn't have an IP address. It's a very unique system - it is old and it is very good," Lt. Col. Rossi told C4ISRNET. "I joke with people and say it's the Air Force's oldest IT system. But it's the age that provides that security."



Isn’t that the computer John titor was looking for when he traveled back?



posted on Oct, 19 2019 @ 08:39 PM
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a reply to: LookingAtMars

It'll be connected to SIPRNET or JWICS, which isn't connected to the internet, but is a secure network used by the DoD. What they were talking about was the MDA system, which is connected to the net, to allow data to be sent to various vendors about their programs. SIPRNET uses similar protocols to the internet, but adds a second level to those protocols, making it more secure.
edit on 10/19/2019 by Zaphod58 because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 19 2019 @ 08:44 PM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

That make sense.

Thank for the info



posted on Oct, 19 2019 @ 08:47 PM
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"Sir, pass me the floppy with the nuclear launch codes, it's finally happening"

**Inserts disc**

**Oregon Trail splash screen pops up**

"Sir, that's the wrong disc.....but I think we have time for a quick game....."



posted on Oct, 19 2019 @ 08:49 PM
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a reply to: Veryolduser

He was looking for a IBM 5100 (not a mainframe). It's not the same. May be able to run the same programs though.

John Titor & The IBM 5100

Good question.



edit on 19-10-2019 by LookingAtMars because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 19 2019 @ 08:49 PM
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a reply to: LookingAtMars

You would be surprised what is on floppy disks. I had to find an external floppy to install TS/SCI clearance software about 10 yrs ago.

about 20 years or so Nasa used macs as an added security measure, because at the time they weren't that popular inside gov't agencies.

I wouldn't be surprised if you found a trx-80 somewhere intentionally being used.


edit on 541031America/ChicagoSat, 19 Oct 2019 20:54:50 -0500000000p3142 by interupt42 because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 19 2019 @ 08:53 PM
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a reply to: interupt42

I still have some of the big, really floppy disks laying around.

May try to find a drive someday to see if the data on them is still good.



posted on Oct, 19 2019 @ 08:56 PM
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a reply to: LookingAtMars

Thanks for the answer
I’m with the family at a pumpkin patch couldn’t really check on it myself



posted on Oct, 19 2019 @ 08:58 PM
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originally posted by: MisterSpock
"Sir, pass me the floppy with the nuclear launch codes, it's finally happening"

**Inserts disc**

**Oregon Trail splash screen pops up**

"Sir, that's the wrong disc.....but I think we have time for a quick game....."


What's seriously funny is that Oregon trail and the Zork series is usually what is in those computers.

On a 3.5 floppy.




posted on Oct, 19 2019 @ 09:01 PM
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originally posted by: interupt42
a reply to: LookingAtMars

You would be surprised what is on floppy disks. I had to find an external floppy to install TS/SCI clearance software about 10 yrs ago.

about 20 years or so Nasa used macs as an added security measure, because at the time they weren't that popular inside gov't agencies.

I wouldn't be surprised if you found a trx-80 somewhere intentionally being used.



I can confirm Windows V1 in the Air Force on some installations.

Whole OS on a floppy disk.

And the TRS-80 was part of a KG series once.


edit on 19-10-2019 by Lumenari because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 19 2019 @ 09:29 PM
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originally posted by: interupt42
a reply to: LookingAtMars

I wouldn't be surprised if you found a trx-80 somewhere intentionally being used.



I think you might mean TRS-80. That was my first computer.



posted on Oct, 19 2019 @ 09:31 PM
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originally posted by: AnonymousCitizen

originally posted by: interupt42
a reply to: LookingAtMars

I wouldn't be surprised if you found a trx-80 somewhere intentionally being used.



I think you might mean TRS-80. That was my first computer.


Yep known as the trash 80 , that was mine as well .


IPA and posting don't always go together. I wish I still had it.
edit on 421031America/ChicagoSat, 19 Oct 2019 21:42:11 -0500000000p3142 by interupt42 because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 19 2019 @ 09:50 PM
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a reply to: LookingAtMars

Wow, so WOPR gets an update; wait it's even older, ARPA, Dr. Strangelove.
Reminds me of DOS & Windows 3.1 floppies.
Wow, this kinda blows the mind given where storage media technology is today.

1967 - IBM invents the floppy disk for the System/370.
1968 - Intel founded
1969 - ARPANET begins research into networking.

TRS-80 (Z80 chip) was my first computer.
1976 - 5.25 inch floppy disks are introduced.



posted on Oct, 19 2019 @ 10:23 PM
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originally posted by: LookingAtMars



"You can't hack something that doesn't have an IP address. It's a very unique system - it is old and it is very good," Lt. Col. Rossi told C4ISRNET. "I joke with people and say it's the Air Force's oldest IT system. But it's the age that provides that security."



Are they out of their mind? There's no such thing as never. Everything eventually becomes cracked and hacked. It's just a matter of time.



posted on Oct, 19 2019 @ 11:22 PM
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Are we talking about the paper floppy disks ?

My dad built a pc from scratch, around one of the first small chips Intel made. No one had a PC then. The newspaper came out to take pictures and did a Sunday paper Headline and article. I think it used those paper drives. That was late 70s or early 80s



posted on Oct, 19 2019 @ 11:38 PM
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a reply to: KiwiNite

If this is a true air gap, then it cannot be remotely accessed in any way. Now you need hands on device, which is a bit harder to get. Even more so because the systems and protocols being used are not supported in any fashion. So you would have to rig something up to connect via RS 232 or something similar in order to interface with it. Not impossible but also a lot less likely due to the very specific attack vector needed. It's actually a reasonably effective means of defense, provided physical security and insider threat is addressed.

What would concern me is the government having the people with the appropriate skills on hand to write code, upkeep the systems, and interface with them. You're seeing that now in some industries that can't upgrade to newer tech, no one teaches the old stuff so they have to train someone up from day 1. Heck you'd be shocked at the amount of AS/400 systems and other System 1 style mainframes being utilized in a lot of very large corporations due to the cost and time needed to bring them up to date.



posted on Oct, 20 2019 @ 12:04 AM
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originally posted by: LookingAtMars

When I first heard years ago that they were still using floppy disks I thought it was crazy. Then I had it explained to me how it made the systems more secure because they were using old OS's and computers. The system they were using were IBM Series/1 mainframes from 1968/1970.



I used to keep my passwords on 1541 floppy disks, before that I would keep them in a steel safe written on fireproof paper. It was hack proof, long as no one stole my stuff lol.
edit on 20-10-2019 by CraftyArrow because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 20 2019 @ 08:34 AM
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That's crazy, but it seems that the old floppy disks are still used, or are at least on file with some businesses.

A couple of years ago I was trying to find a legal document concerning some property ownership when my parents got divorced 26 years ago. I thought there was a legal agreement outside of the divorce decree and called the lawyer who handled the case. He remembered my mother and the case, but said their records that far back were on floppy disks and they didn't have a reader.

I thought it was strange to not back up the floppies when they upgraded their systems, but lucky the information I needed was in the divorce papers, of which I had a copy. So the old hard copy in an actual physical file I had in a real file cabinet, a system that predates the floppy disk, worked for me in that case. Moral of this story? When in doubt, print it out.

ETA: On a related note, I have an old freeware music composition program I used a lot and had some music data (MIDI files and SEQ files) I couldn't get or use because the program won't run on a 64-bit OS and I trashed the old systems I had. Now if I want to recover that data, I need to find an old system I can use to retrieve that data.
edit on 20-10-2019 by MichiganSwampBuck because: Added extra comments



posted on Oct, 20 2019 @ 09:55 AM
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I can easily understand why they're still used as the drives are cheap and the media is still available and messing around with late 1960's tech is dangerous as small changes may have big impacts even just replacing a single part such as the drive with a new more modern unit as the operating environment won't be the best and lets just say the spec sheets for operating voltage ranges and other such related items could be seen as more of an ideal guide so quite often modern tech is just a bit too delicate for use without a lot of extra work.

Probably would have to be floppy tech for that sort of place as mag tape would require maintenance and cleaning and hard drives would be too big and maintenance heavy as well and punched cards and tape are certainly out due to the ease of stuffing it up not withstanding again the size of the readers and a 1ft cube is not too bad and doesn't really use power or heat making it perfect.




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