Our Government Has Been Criminally Slow
Cyber Warfare is Coming to Your City Soon
NASA has estimated the odds of a damaging solar storm to be as high as 12% within a decade. The odds of a destructive cyber-attack on our electrical generating plants and distribution networks may be even higher…and come sooner. According to USA Today there are multiple failed or partially successful cyber-attacks against our electrical infrastructure are now occurring weekly.
In fact,Ukraineand Israelhave already suffered such attacks. The FBI has warned that we may be next.
Experts are worried and with good reason. Nations that hate or even just compete with the United States have organized and trained hackers who work in well-equipped secret labs. Our most precious secrets (like 22 million Office of Personnel Management employee records, including security clearance interviews) have already been hacked and news outlets have reported that our own government launched a cyber-attack against Iran’s nuclear development program.
Cyber warfare is the new international battle front.
Perhaps even more frightening than nations attacking us through the internet is the growing likelihood that individuals acting on their own can take down completely open systems controlling our power grid, our air traffic control systems, even nuclear power plants. Terrorists without nations as well as hackers with allegiance to no one see the United States as wide-open to their destructive passions. It is, for them, the “brass ring”.
The question is: can our federal government protect us when it has been unable to even successfully launch President Obama’s most important domestic program website—Obamacare? Should we trust the abilities of a government that failed to protect 22 million sensitive security records that provide a road map to China to blackmail our government workers?
In example afterexample our government has proved that it is incapable of operating successfully in the digital world. That leaves our power generating facilities wide open to attack. Experts say that it could take months to restore a damaged operating system in a major utility. A major failure could lead to a cascading collapse of the electrical grid.
Like a severe solar storm or a deliberate high altitude nuclear detonation, our society would suffer being jerked back to the pre-industrial era. Such a trip to simpler times may sound romantic. It would not be. Food and water supplies would be soon exhausted. Criminal elements would rampage and even good people might turn violent when faced with watching their children suffer starvation and thirst.
At hand to protect us are the very best digital innovators in the world. They live and work in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. They have not been tapped to help us. But they should be. Every utility plant should have a cyber expert on duty at all times watching over firewalls and redundant barriers of digital protection. Backup systems must be developed and managers trained in how to implement re-starts in a worst case scenario. It can be done if we have the clarity of thought and purpose to protect ourselves in time.
These are common sense measures that befuddle only calcified government agencies that are out of their depth when it comes to the digital world. Our job is to bring the right American private sector experts into the mix that can make solutions happen rightnow, before these attacks inevitably hurt our citizens and our nation.