Saturday, November 26, 2011

SDS Daily Update for Saturday, November 26, 2011

DHS Denies, You Decide.

I reported earlier on the cyber attack on a Illinois water treatment facility, supposedly the first instance of an off shore cyber attack on critical infrastructure/key resources (CIKR).  The Department of Homeland Security took a break from its usual and statutorily imposed Thanksgiving responsibilities of warning us about the dangers of deep frying turkeys to deny the story was true.  Some in the Suburban Dad Survivalist Nation have asked me to weigh in on this.

Would DHS have incentive to claim this was not a cyber attack from off shore?  Sure it would.  If it feared Americans would start reporting to hospitals in droves because they drank water poisoned in an Al Qaeda cyber hack (remember the anthrax scare circa 2001 and the burden that placed on hospital ERs?), it could certainly try to downplay that in an effort to calm fears.  We need look no further than 2008 when then Treasury secretary Hank Paulson told the Bush cabinet and certain members of Congress we should prepare for martial law and food lines, while simultaneously telling the American people everything was fine.

Does that mean they are not telling us the whole story here?  I think we should ask ourselves what, if anything, the water treatment entity had to gain by claiming it was hacked by an off shore entity. A play for more state and federal resources?  Attention seeking?  An effort to embarrass local political leaders or treatment facility management?  It's certainly possible. 

We may never know the reality behind these dueling stories.  Regardless, we do know someone hacked into the control system of critical infrastructure and damaged it.  If that happened in your area, would you be able to cope for a period of time if that utility could no longer deliver water/sewer/electric/gas to your home?

I Love How News Agencies Put The Headlines In Their URL

In case you haven't noticed, many news agencies put the headline of a particular story into the web address for that story.  Here's one example, taken verbatim:

That's right.  The Telegraph reports the British government is preparing for riots in the event of a collapse of the Euro.  Taken from the article, verbatim:

Some analysts say the shock waves of such an event would risk the collapse of the entire financial system, leaving banks unable to return money to retail depositors and destroying companies dependent on bank credit.
The Financial Services Authority this week issued a public warning to British banks to bolster their contingency plans for the break-up of the single currency.
Some economists believe that at worst, the outright collapse of the euro could reduce GDP in its member-states by up to half and trigger mass unemployment.
Analysts at UBS, an investment bank earlier this year warned that the most extreme consequences of a break-up include risks to basic property rights and the threat of civil disorder.
“When the unemployment consequences are factored in, it is virtually impossible to consider a break-up scenario without some serious social consequences,” UBS said.

How does this affect us in the U.S.?  If Europe's economy becomes so weak that it dramatically decreases their demand for American exports, it certainly would hurt our economy.  Further, the pressures this would create on the European banking  system would certainly not be limited to Europe. 

Do I think they will have massive rioting in the streets?  I have no idea; I hope not.  But a lot of smart people in positions of authority are beginning to prepare for this possibility.  I would submit it needs to be on our radars as well.

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