Battling the Cyber Warmongers

A recent simulation of a devastating cyberattack on America was crying for a Bruce Willis lead: A series of mysterious attacks–probably sanctioned by China but traced to servers in the Russian city of Irkutsk–crippled much of the national infrastructure, including air traffic, financial markets and even basic email. If this was not bad enough, an unrelated electricity outage took down whatever remained of the already unplugged East Coast.

The simulation–funded by a number of major players in network security, organized by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington-based think tank, and broadcast on CNN on a Saturday night–had an unexpected twist. The American government appeared incompetent, indecisive and confused (past government officials, including former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and former Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, were recruited to play this glamorous role on TV). “The U.S. is unprepared for cyberwar,” the simulation’s organizers grimly concluded.

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