Preppers aren’t the only ones working through worst-case scenarios, as US officials rehearse fending off cyberattack:
A cyberattack disabled US cell phone networks, slowed Internet traffic to a crawl and crippled America’s power grid Tuesday — all in the interest of beefing up US security.
The simulated exercise was in fact a dress rehearsal meant to give US leaders practice in responding to a future devastating cyber-assault.
Dubbed “Cyber ShockWave” and organized by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), the event was held at a Washington hotel room transformed for the day into the White House Situation Room, where the president and his advisers typically meet to address national emergencies.
In the simulation, former top US officials debated how to respond as the power grid in the eastern United States was virtually shut down by a stealth cyberattack and a pair of bombings, cutting electricity to tens of millions of homes.
Next to our porous borders, the USA’s internet infrastructure is probably the most vulnerable aspect of our national security. When we talk about a ‘cyber attack’ most people may be thinking about their inability to access email or visit their favorite web site.
But the internet is much more than that. And a state-sponsored, coordinated cyber attack could be so damaging that it could literally bring our entire economy and society to a standstill in a matter of hours.
Everything, from stock markets and the electricity grid to transportation systems and merchant processing applications, is connected via the internet.
Law and order could disintegrate fairly quickly if we were to ever come under a cyber attack. If you’ve ever worked in an office where everyone uses a computer, you know pretty well what happens if your Local Area Network is out of service. Nothing gets done, and if the company’s information technology team can’t restore service, the only choice a company has is to send people home.
Now imagine that on a massive, nation-wide scale.
Cyber Security, however, can take many forms. We expressed our view in US/UN Cyber Security: â€˜More Draconian Than Chinese Net Censorshipâ€™ that while we support ‘outward’ facing security measures to prevent attacks on our networks from other countries, there is a fine line between security and personal privacy:
If the US government implements cyber security to prevent threats from China or Russia, great, weâ€™re all for it. But the same cyber security that will be used to prevent attacks from other nations can just as easily be turned on the American people, and if history is any guide, it will be.
When the TSA took over airport security, we were told that government was the answer. But rather than focusing their efforts on higher probability threats like non-US-citizen Arab men on the no-fly list entering the United States from the middle east, TSA is more concerned about suspicious people with several thousand dollars in their pocket or four year old boys with leg braces that pose absolutely no threat to passengers or personnel.
If TSA’s gross violations of civil rights and privacy are any indicator of how a national cyber security defense group will protect us from external threats, we’d prefer to take our chances with no electricity.