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Fri Oct 18, 2019, 09:46 AM

US military will no longer use 8" floppy disks to coordinate nuke launches

WTF.

US military will no longer use floppy disks to coordinate nuke launches
It now has a "highly-secure solid state digital storage solution."

As we alarmingly learned in 2014, the US military has been using 8-inch floppy disks in an antiquated '70s computer to receive nuclear launch orders from the President. Now, the US strategic command has announced that it has replaced the drives with a "highly-secure solid state digital storage solution," Lt. Col. Jason Rossi told c4isrnet.com.

The storage is used in an ancient system called the Strategic Automated Command and Control System, or SACCS. It's used by US nuclear forces to send emergency action messages from command centers to field forces, and is unhackable precisely because it was created long before the internet existed. "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," Rossi said.

The Defense Department planned to replace the old IBM Series/1 SACCS computer and "update its data storage solutions, port expansion processors, portable terminals, and desktop terminals by the end of fiscal year 2017," it said in 2016. The Air Force hasn't revealed whether that project is complete, but did say that it has enhanced the speed and connectivity of SACCS.

Despite the age of the system, the Air Force is confident in its security and has a pretty good handle on maintaining it. By contrast, installing an all-new system isn't as easy as it sounds. "You have to be able to certify that an adversary can't take control of that weapon, that the weapon will be able to do what it's supposed to do when you call on it," said Air Force Scientific Advisory Board chair Dr. Werner JA Dahm back in 2016.

https://www.engadget.com/2019/10/18/us-military-nuclear-missiles-floppy-disks/?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cubWFjc3VyZmVyLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAANyWfvG927T2hO_RMfpEd8wsuGkBhOe_RsutsDXOewiQnLZPFK7mK1WKd-kOPenkREzbCjM1Yi8PuLqgsoGCcc3huGJET7AqQnqQVIlnAzIyXN0Zx7cIRS4jGoiqu6MP7Wu0BLXh4ex8dZS5xag3HTg_78GV1W69BKwIaa84Fq4S

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Reply US military will no longer use 8" floppy disks to coordinate nuke launches (Original post)
crazytown Oct 18 OP
underpants Oct 18 #1
USALiberal Oct 18 #2
Downtown Hound Oct 18 #3
lastlib Oct 18 #37
Historic NY Oct 18 #4
Baitball Blogger Oct 18 #5
harumph Oct 18 #6
tblue37 Oct 18 #8
JHB Oct 18 #13
lindysalsagal Oct 18 #7
Locrian Oct 18 #9
Brother Buzz Oct 18 #10
Blue_Tires Oct 18 #36
ansible Oct 18 #11
jeffreyi Oct 18 #12
crazytown Oct 18 #14
jeffreyi Oct 18 #15
crazytown Oct 18 #17
jeffreyi Oct 18 #29
TheRealNorth Oct 18 #28
Ms. Toad Oct 18 #33
hunter Oct 18 #16
crazytown Oct 18 #18
yonder Oct 18 #19
pecosbob Oct 18 #20
TeamPooka Oct 18 #21
braddy Oct 18 #22
Caliman73 Oct 18 #23
imanamerican63 Oct 18 #24
Wounded Bear Oct 18 #25
smirkymonkey Oct 18 #26
klook Oct 18 #27
still_one Oct 18 #30
Fla Dem Oct 18 #31
fescuerescue Oct 18 #35
LiberalFighter Oct 18 #32
Hermit-The-Prog Oct 18 #34
lpbk2713 Oct 18 #38
Hermit-The-Prog Oct 18 #39
lpbk2713 Oct 18 #40
Hermit-The-Prog Oct 18 #42
cos dem Oct 18 #41

Response to crazytown (Original post)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 09:58 AM

1. I had no idea

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Response to crazytown (Original post)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 10:00 AM

2. Lol, amazing! Nt

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Response to crazytown (Original post)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 10:04 AM

3. I heard they upgraded to that all new Windows 95

that's so popular these days.

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Response to Downtown Hound (Reply #3)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 05:08 PM

37. Amazing! They leapfrogged the stone knives and bearskins!

To revise my literary hero Arthur C. Clarke, "Any technology sufficiently BACKWARDS is indistinguishable from magic."

(I wonder how they worked around DOS 3.3 ............. )

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Response to crazytown (Original post)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 10:04 AM

4. OMG....were doomed

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Response to Historic NY (Reply #4)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 10:09 AM

5. +1

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Response to crazytown (Original post)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 10:45 AM

6. Old system is reliable and unhackable -

Anything that isn't air gapped is an accident waiting to happen.

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Response to harumph (Reply #6)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 10:57 AM

8. +1. nt

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Response to harumph (Reply #6)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 11:40 AM

13. Yup. The age of the system wound up giving it extra security.

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Response to crazytown (Original post)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 10:53 AM

7. And now I'm supposed to sleep at night?

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Response to crazytown (Original post)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 11:22 AM

9. are those connected to the woper?

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Response to Locrian (Reply #9)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 11:28 AM

10. Only for the solitaire games

Tic-tac-toe is the wicked cool game

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Response to Locrian (Reply #9)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 04:58 PM

36. YES!

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Response to crazytown (Original post)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 11:30 AM

11. oh god, gives me bad flashbacks of how unreliable floppy disks were with bad sectors

Had to handle them like it was the most delicate thing in the world

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Response to crazytown (Original post)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 11:39 AM

12. Hey, you can't hack an 8" floppy

Gee that's old. I still have some 5 inchers around, I think...

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Response to jeffreyi (Reply #12)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 11:40 AM

14. Bad sectors?

Magnetic material exposed to the air.

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Response to crazytown (Reply #14)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 11:44 AM

15. Ok, clever and tricky, but not the most stable.

I concede. Damn. Was hoping those old 5" floppies I have were worth something. 5 inch floppies would be the upgrade!

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Response to jeffreyi (Reply #15)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 11:47 AM

17. I'm thinking Zip drives

Soooo reliable

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Response to crazytown (Reply #17)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 02:57 PM

29. (Slightly chagrined)

I think I have a few of those around, too. Maybe I have too much stuff?

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Response to jeffreyi (Reply #12)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 02:29 PM

28. I am refurbishing an old computer of mine that still has a 3 1/2 floppy drive

Still have some old floppies too.

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Response to jeffreyi (Reply #12)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 04:16 PM

33. I definitely have 5.25s around.

But my reaction was the same - probably a lot safer than anything else these days.

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Response to crazytown (Original post)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 11:45 AM

16. No USB ports, no internet connections, fewer security risks.

I have an 8 inch floppy drive in my garage but I haven't started it up in many years.

But you never know when you might need one...

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Response to hunter (Reply #16)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 11:50 AM

18. Calling Major Kong, Major Kong?

A: Kong here. Q: What's the problem Major?
A: Bad sectors on the damn floppy.

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Response to crazytown (Original post)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 12:25 PM

19. Off topic, but our desk shares space with our current laptop AND an old Gateway desktop

that I still use for occasional CAD drafting work. It has both 3.5 and 5.0 inch drives. Somewhere around here are some old 5 inch floppies with older survey coordinate files on them.

So, with a fresh cup of coffee I think I'll look for them and try downloading that data.

Thanks for the reminder - could be fun. Or not.

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Response to crazytown (Original post)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 12:31 PM

20. Last software I used on five inch floppies was AutoCAD 2.0 I believe

so that would make it about thirty-five years ago.

I'm sure they'll choose a great solution from Diebold on Huawei hardware.

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Response to crazytown (Original post)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 12:41 PM

21. Finally upgrading from their Commodore 64s.

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Response to crazytown (Original post)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 02:09 PM

22. We can't lose the arms race, this is catch up with

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Response to crazytown (Original post)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 02:12 PM

23. Once we get Skynet up and running, all our worries will be over.

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Response to crazytown (Original post)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 02:16 PM

24. Get Smart!

No really, Get Maxwell Smart, Agent 99!

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Response to crazytown (Original post)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 02:18 PM

25. I'm sure Huawei has some good upgrade system solutions...

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Response to crazytown (Original post)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 02:21 PM

26. Is this for real?

I really can't tell these days what is satire and what is real.

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Response to crazytown (Original post)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 02:26 PM

27. Don't forget to install Kaspersky AV! (nt)

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Response to crazytown (Original post)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 03:16 PM

30. The last time I saw 8" floppy drives was 15 years ago, and that was at electronic surprlus stores

where people buy thing for parts. nothing like keeping up with the times


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Response to crazytown (Original post)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 03:21 PM

31. Actualy with the floppy disks were probably more secure.

No one still has the knowledge or software to be able to hack them.

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Response to Fla Dem (Reply #31)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 04:57 PM

35. Ahem

That was a hobby of mine back in the day. Cracking the copy protection schemes on floppies. Even got a 5 1/4 drive in my closet not 10 foot from where I type.

They were actually quite easy to hack. Since the boot code was not encrypted and always started in sector #1, all you needed was a sector sector reader and the ability to read assembly.

Anyway.. Yea us old guys are still around and we have still have closets full of stuff

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Response to crazytown (Original post)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 03:42 PM

32. Trump probably told them to use 16" disks.

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Response to crazytown (Original post)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 04:37 PM

34. but will they upgrade to the TI 99/4A computer?

8" floppies are soooo S100.

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Response to Hermit-The-Prog (Reply #34)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 05:21 PM

38. I have one in my garage I can sell them for cheap.




Cartridges and manuals galore.

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Response to lpbk2713 (Reply #38)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 06:05 PM

39. mine collects dust, too ...

Have one with PEB and Gram Kracker, but the following works pretty well when nostalgia occasionally jumps up:

http://www.mrousseau.org/programs/ti99sim/

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Response to Hermit-The-Prog (Reply #39)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 06:44 PM

40. Hey thanks.



I'm gonna check that out.

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Response to lpbk2713 (Reply #40)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 07:56 PM

42. welcome. has worked for me for years

Biggest problem is getting the cartridges transferred. I believe I used a null modem cable and v9t9 for the transfers from TI to a PC, running either dosemu or dosbox.

This was going to be my fallback to read the carts, if the above didn't work:

Cheapo TI-99/4A GROM reader

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Response to crazytown (Original post)

Fri Oct 18, 2019, 07:09 PM

41. Interesting. I had very much the same experience, but it was 25 years ago.

We had to put together a system for USAF using IBM Series/1. Even at the time they were obsolete. They were pretty common in some of the early grocery store scanners, so surplus gear wasn't too hard to find. IBM had a "special" relation with the DoD, and got their systems written into a lot of specifications. I remember one spec in particular stating that "the floppy disk shall have a capacity of X". I don't remember X, but it was in the 100s of kbytes. The spec was not "at least X", it was exactly "X". Funny, it was the exact capacity of the IBM Series/1 floppy disk.

I picked up a copy of Byte and found an ad in the back for a media shop stating "we still carry 8" floppies". I called them and asked how many boxes they had in stock. I bought all 3. Their ad in the next issue of Byte did not make that claim anymore.

I estimated the hard drives on these things were about 2lb/MB. The drive was 50 MB, and weighed 100 lbs. It required 208 3-phase to operate.

Although it is long obsolete, it is a bit gratifying to see how long some of this old stuff can last. It really was built to last. The crap coming out now has no hope of making it anywhere close to 40.

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