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  • Author: Kertu Ruus
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: European Affairs
  • Institution: The European Institute
  • Abstract: Suddenly, the lights go out. Communication lines fall silent. Internet connections are lost. People venturing into the congested streets discover that banks are closed, ATMs are malfunctioning, traffic lights are jammed. Radio and TV stations cannot broadcast. The airports and train stations are shut down. Food production halts, and the water supply starts rapidly diminishing as pumps stop working. Looters are on the rampage; panic grips the public; the police cannot maintain order. This grim picture is not the opening scene of a Hollywood fantasy, but the beginning of a cyber attack, as described by Sami Saydjari, president of Professionals for Cyber Defense, to a Congressional homeland defense subcommittee in April 2007. In vivid terms, he described how a superpower can be reduced to third-world status by a cyber take-down of a nation's electronic infrastructure. The defense expert called his description “a plausible scenario” – and one for which the United States is unprepared. Even if military computer systems are usually protected against outside interference, most civilian electronic systems remain vulnerable to a massive assault that enjoyed the sponsorship of a state.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Estonia