RealNews

Bringing Down the Internet

If you wanted to write a science-fiction thriller about the day the Internet crashed, you’d start with a computer geek. Armed with nothing but a laptop and a high-speed Internet connection, he releases a fast-spreading computer virus that in a matter of minutes gives him control of thousands, perhaps millions, of personal computers and servers throughout the world. THIS DRONE ARMY launches a silent and sustained attack on computers that are crucial for sending around the billions of packets of data that keep e-mail, the Web and other, more basic necessities of modern life humming. At first the attack seems to be an inconvenience – e-mail traffic grinds to a halt, Web browsing is impossible. But then the problems spread to services only tangentially related to the Internet: automated-teller machines freeze up, calls to emergency numbers fail to get routed to police stations and ambulance services, airport- and train-reservation systems come down. After a few hours, the slowdown starts to affect critical systems: the computers that help run power grids, air-traffic control and telephone networks. Call it the worldwide muddlea level of confusion that sometimes occurs during storms and power outages, but never before on a global scale. So far there’s no element of this plot outline that hasn’t already happened, at least in piecemeal fashion. Here’s where we enter the realm of speculation: what if such a cyberattack were accompanied by a physical one – perhaps a coordinated bombing attack on a few dozen buildings around the world that house computers essential for keeping the Internet working? Would it be possible for a small band of savvy terrorists to crash the Internet? Full Story

OODA Analyst

OODA Analyst

OODA is comprised of a unique team of international experts capable of providing advanced intelligence and analysis, strategy and planning support, risk and threat management, training, decision support, crisis response, and security services to global corporations and governments.