Extra Helping of Squid 10.22.12
Squid Speaks on Cyber Attacks
Monday, October 22, 2012
OUT GO THE LIGHTS…Squid was cozily tucked into bed on Saturday night, sleeping the sleep of the just, when the lair began swaying to-and-fro. Earthquake! Squid scrambled to the doorway and held on until the shaking stopped, and then noticed social media was blowing up with the hashtag “King City,” (where the 5.3-magnitude shaker originated, marking the first and last time King City will ever trend on Twitter). And while Squid was busy checking the old 72-hour emergency supply, refreshing the stash of canned soup and bottled water, Squid caught wind of a more ominous threat on the horizon, one man-made and so insidious that it might make one long for the cannibalistic days of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.
According to Monterey native son and U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, America could face a “cyber Pearl Harbor,” an Internet-borne disaster in which a terrorist group or some unfriendly nation-state takes aim at the computer systems that run everything from our financial systems to our power and water grids. No money, no electricity, no heat, no clean water—literally, it would be anarchy.
Panetta was preaching to the choir during this apocalyptic speech, addressing the Business Executives for National Security while inside the retired aircraft carrier Intrepid; according to writer Karen Greenberg, he used a 9-11 analogy four times, making him the highest-ranking Obama official to make that comparison. As Greenberg writes, “According to the best experts, the consequences of a massive, successful cyber attack on crucial U.S. systems could be devastating to life as we know it.” Squid wonders what might happen to the old civil liberties if terrorists did launch a cyber-strike against the U.S. Stocking the lair with clean water might not cut it—it might be time to start digging that bomb shelter and brushing up on morse code after all.