Your Lives are but Bits on Chips: Watch Them Flicker Out
Cyberwar is an all-out attack on the digital data-underpinnings of modern life. The more reliant we become upon digital networks ("smart power grids" etc), the more vulnerable we become to cyberwar. US National Security Agency (NSA) veteran Charlie Miller has mapped out a comprehensive cyber-attack plan against the US. Miller implies that his plan would satisfy enemies of the US such as North Korea or China. And it would not be terribly difficult or expensive -- considering the devastation it would cause.
Miller explained that he had actually been asked by the Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Estonia to play general in the theoretical attack scenario.A relatively primitive belligerent nation such as North Korea has little to lose by bringing down the world's financial and defense networks -- the global internet and all its vital dependent networks. North Korea is minimally networked. Even China or Russia could take precautions to protect themselves, during the two year setup period before the final attack.
He shared his results at a NATO briefing in that country in June.
"I already knew it was easy, but now I know in detail how easy it would be," said. "We are certainly very vulnerable."
Miller described the 100-million-dollar price tag as a bargain compared to how much money is spent on cyber defense.
He crafted a broad strategy to target smart grids, banks, communications and all other aspects of a nation's technology infrastructure.
The cyber army would number about a thousand soldiers ranging from elite computer commandos to basic college trained geeks, according to the plan.
A key to success was stealthily breaching networks and establishing beachheads in computer systems during the two years before the main cyber invasion.
...National Security Corporation president Mark Harding recalled graduating from officers school in the Navy having completed a thesis on how unprepared the country's military is for cyber war.
"There are people I know who have indicated they can take the entire Internet down and they can," Harding said. _Source_via_BrianWang
But these are old ideas, and it is quite possible that most or all of the setup has already been done, by someone, somewhere.
A cyber-attack would be more effective if combined with multiple parallel and simultaneous attacks, such as EMP and ABC -- atomic (including dirty bombs), biological, chemical. A clever nano-attack would be potentially more effective as an adjunct to cyberwar and EMP, but the technology for a massive and devastating nano-attack may still be decades away -- if we are lucky.
Consider the destruction from the cyber intrusion as the spearhead of a coordinated and fairly comprehensive attack. North Korea might be the nominal, putative villain -- a cat's paw. Which means that North Korea may receive whatever counter-attack the US was able to muster after the networks and power grids go down. But could you tell the difference between pre- and post- nuclear attack for a country already as devastated as N. Korea?
Meanwhile, China and Russia (assuming they were prepared in advance) would be in a perfect condition to move into the US as part of an international relief mission -- in the absence of an effective US government -- meant to relieve the incredible hardship being suffered by the American people. History will never say anything different from the above -- no matter what the underlying truth.
Should the electronic infrastructures of your lives collapse in a nano-second, what would you do? No electric power means no transportation fuels could be pumped. No supplies of food or medicines would be brought to your city to replace the supplies looted from gutted and burned out stores. No clean water would be pumped to your house. No electric lights, no air conditioners or electric heat, no showers. Your lives, as you currently think of them, would dissolve in a short time.
Think of it as an interesting problem which no one can solve but yourselves. What do you do?