Cybergeddon: The five doomsday hacks you don’t want to happen

Ambassador R James Woolsey Jr, a former director of central intelligence in the US, gave evidence before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in July 2015. Woolsey warned that the US is “heading toward an EMP catastrophe”, meaning a natural or man-made electromagnetic pulse represents an existential threat to the American people. “EMP is a clear and present danger,” Woolsey said. “Something must be done to protect the electric grid and other life-sustaining critical infrastructures – immediately.”

Cybergeddon: The five doomsday hacks you don't want to happen


“EMP weapons aren’t the only electrical threat to civilisation as we know it.”

EMP weapons aren’t the only electrical threat to civilisation as we know it. National-security experts use the acronym CHEW (cybercrime, hacktivism, espionage and war) to describe the risk to national economic, political and social stability. Given the number of high-profile reported data leaks, it’s fair to assume that there are also plenty of unreported and undiscovered breaches. It’s also fair to assume that the latter category is most likely to have been carried out by nation-state actors with the financial resources and technical wherewithal to successfully cover their tracks.

So far, the online world has proved pretty resilient when it comes to fending off attacks. However, the attack surface is always expanding, with increasing numbers and types of devices being added to the internet. Add to this the fact that both the nation-state and terrorist threats are better funded than ever before, and many security analysts will tell you that cybergeddon isn’t only likely, but inevitable.

With the help of security experts, Alphr explores five potential cybergeddon scenarios.

Continues on page 2: Zero-day worms attack critical national infrastructure

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