Could cyberterrorism be next Pearl Harbor?

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Cyber crooks make me very nervous.

Defense secretary Leon Panetta was on all the news outlets last night warning that a cataclysmic cyber attack could take down large parts of North American networks and be more devastating than the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

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Experts say it isn’t merely the loss of information we should worry about, but the threat of hackers turning off our systems altogether, a move that could shut down drinking water services, derail trains or even release toxic chemicals.

Needless to say, our financial systems could crash and in case of diminishing availability of food and water, cash wouldn’t be much good anyway.

The main problem is that computers were originally seen as something to be “tinkered” with, said Martin Libicki, senior management scientist at the Rand Corporation.

“We’ve built the most important infrastructure on things that were made to be toys,” said Libicki. Being toys, computer systems from the start have gaps and vulnerabilities needing to be patched, he warned.

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I don’t know about you, but I plan to be prepared … just in case.  It never hurts to have on hand plenty of water, food, medications, and infant formula if there is an infant child in the family or, in my case, plenty of puppy food. I’m off to Hammill Springs today to refill my water jugs and stop by Kroger to pick up a case of tuna and peanut butter.

I’m planting Swiss chard today in my garden, so if worse comes to worse, I can concoct a dish incorporating these three ingredients.  Let’s just hope the computer nerds are hard at work figuring out how to safeguard our cyberspace.

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