Review of the 1982 Soviet Explosion

CIA use faulting software to their advantage

1982, the CIA found Russia’s plans to start selling gas to western Europe. When Russia started using the pipeline it caused one of the biggest explosions ever seen. The explosion was so big it was seen from space.

The Trans-Siberian Pipeline

In 1982 the pipeline finished construction and also started worries amongst America about what it could mean or the future and what other plans Russia could have.

Many believe that it was the software in the pipelines system that caused the explosion. The software was reported faulty and caused the values and the pumps inside the pipeline to malfunction. Because of this the pressure built up in the pipeline and the faulty software not stopping, the line exploded and was one of the largest non-nuclear explosions ever to happen. This cost the  Russians millions in damage and had a huge impact on their economy(1). There was speculation as to why nothing or no one had stopped the operation while the faults were happening, this may have also been to the

But why would Russia buy faulty software?

It is rumoured that it was in fact planned by the CIA. They had manipulated the Canadian software that they knew Russia wanted to buy, knowing their plan to start selling gas the whole intention was to stop them. Somehow the CIA managed to hide the faults so that upon inspection, there was no foreseeable issue but once it was put into operation, it would purposely fail. This was right in the middle of The Cold War so it was a bold move, yet there was no way it could be linked back to them apart from in the historical joint report about the CIA/DOD/FBI operation that talked about a code named “Farewell”(2).

Was it ethically correct to use software like that?

Ethically this is not what software should be used for. It should be used to build, not destroy, it raises many questions about how software can and should be used. In this case it was used in war, and today that is sadly what happens. We use computer systems and programs instead of troops which is saving people but ruining more lives on the other end. It has become a difficult topic when talking about software usage in war and still causes debates to this day.

(1) (11:10 12/11/18)

(2) (17:13 22/11/2018)

(Image 1982)