Technology is not my thing; I’m fairly adept at operating my computer and my smartphone…as long as they work the way they’re supposed to. But the minute there’s a problem, I need to call in the experts. As the regular readers of this blog know, I just recently rejoined the blogosphere. Happy to be back and proud of my pretty new blog, I should have known things were going too well.

Last week, as I went to put up a post, my virus alert went off, and I mean it went off…I have a system that literally blares out a loud alarm. I decided to pack it in for the night and try again the next day. When I booted up in the morning, there was a message from a friendly fellow blogger, telling me that when he went to read my blog, he received a warning that the site was corrupted. Now it was time to panic.

I called in my very smart, very nice “blog guru”: It has taken six days to get it all straightened out.

In the midst of this meltdown, my husband and I had dinner with some dear friends that we affectionately refer to as the “international club”. For both business and pleasure, they spend much of their time traveling the world. They are well read, well informed, and very interested in politics.

When I regaled them with the tale of the cyber attack that had taken down my blog along with many other websites hosted on the corrupted server, the story brought forth a unanimous consensus from the group, and in the case of one member who is an international businessman, some inside knowledge, that the physical terrorist attack we all fear, is not the real threat: The true danger lies in the bad guys launching a massive cyber attack that shuts down power grids, ATM machines, Wall Street…the list goes on, succeeding in paralyzing the country.

Apparently, this is not so far-fetched. Turns out that just two months ago, the U.S. government participated in a simulation complete with “operations center” to deal with just such a cyber attack. I guess the good news is that they’re trying to be proactive. The bad news is such an operation is an indication of just how serious the threat must be.

Oh good, another thing to worry about. Well at least my blog is up and running again…for now. 

6 thoughts on “Worse Case Scenario”

  1. This is one of those “new world orders” that I shudder to think about. I was listening to Richard Clarke on Fresh Air on Monday afternoon, and although I’m glad to hear the pentagon is working to prevent an attack (proactive might be too strong a word, Clarke reported that among others, Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ computer was hacked during a 2007 Chinese attack on the pentagon/defense department), he raised some really troubling concerns about how much of our PRIVATE technology is vulnerable, and that its up to private companies to do their own cyber-defense. In the US, the power grid, financial records, and medical records, just to name a few – are all privately held, and it would be the responsibility of individual companies or industries to develop security measures. We’ve already seen these systems compromised – I remember not too long ago a major credit card company had an issue with thousands of customers’ information being stolen. This seems to me to be a losing strategy.

    Here is the link to that segment, if you are interested:

  2. Looking To Escape

    Not often talked about but just as deadly is a ElectroMagnetic Pulse device exploded over the United States.
    Within minutes the electric grid could be knocked out of service, possibly for years.
    Such a device can affect anything that uses solid state electronic devices which would include your fridge, your auto, your heart pacemaker. Vacuum tube based electronics can resist the effects better but there is little of that type equipment around anymore.
    I worked at RCA (before GE snapped it up and made the company a nameplate) and their defense work was obsessed with EMP effects.

  3. Looking,

    I’ve heard of the threat of the an “electro-magnetic pulse device” but thought it sounded so much like science fiction that I didn’t know whether to take it seriously. Now I know.

    Thanks for the very interesting, albeit somewhat terrifying, information.

  4. Pam, what you didn’t say was how the simulation came out. Was the United States successful in dealing with such a threat?

  5. I just heard about a book by Richard Clarke “Cyberwar: The Next Threat to National Security”. I am putting it on my reading list. I heard him interviewed and he said we are pretty defenseless. A foreign government could hack into our electric system and turn off our lights.

  6. Bill,

    I wrote this post almost halfheartedly out of frustration over my own blog situation, but as I was looking for information and reference points, I realized how serious this kind of threat really is.

    I’m considering altering our “disaster plan” to include a lot more canned food and a lot more cash. Pretty scary stuff…

    Please come back and tell us about “Cyberwar” after you’ve read it.

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