IMAGINE THIS. A CYBERWARRIOR, armed with a computer, electronically hacks his way into the network controlling an oil refinery. He targets the heating element and the recirculating pump. He realizes if he can turn up the heating element and shut down the recirculating pump, the unit will overheat and explode.

Fortunately, this was a simulated episode, designed and carried out by experts seeking to better prepare for the real thing. Unfortunately, it is mild when compared to some actual cyberattacks that have already occurred. Entire cities plunged into darkness when a hacker corrupts electronic messages intended to keep the electric power grid up and running. This happened in Brazil not that long ago, and impacted three million people. Banks electronically plundered. In one recent episode the cyber bandits made off with ten million dollars in just 24 hours.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

This is the end of the issue. Ready to explore further?
July 5, 2010

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.