The Business-Technology Weave

Feb 15 2011   12:54PM GMT

The Next Pearl Harbor?

David Scott David Scott Profile: David Scott


A provocative article at World Net Daily states flatly that cyber war is imminent.


As any reader of this blog knows, I am very security conscious.  I also believe that most organizations lag in their security awareness and associated practices.  I see it all the time in my travels and consultancy.  The good news is that often my very engagement with these organizations is for purpose of addressing their own, self-motivated, concerns:  In other words, they suspect they’re lagging, and they engage me to spec up their systems and practices.

Given my own provocative awareness, I feel that even “cyber war” doesn’t quite go far enough in articulating the ultimate threat – particularly if we’re going to invoke the attack on Pearl Harbor as a parallel.  (Review my arguments for replacement of standard Disaster Recovery policies and plans [a reactive brand, for sure] with Disaster Awareness, Preparedness and Recovery here, and here). 

Being that the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor ultimately touched upon the entire nation’s engagement to world war (direct combat, combat support, home-front engagement/sacrifice, etc.), a true Cyber Pearl Harbor would comprise… EMP.

Electro-Magnetic Pulse, delivered via an aerial nuclear burst, would eliminate all electricity, wipe out all data and processing, disable motors, disable all electronic communication, cripple emergency response – and beyond – in a considerable geographic area – up to and including an entire country.  Revisit my earlier post on EMP for some good perspective on my thoughts.

Then, not to be a downer, consider this:

Prevention is key.  Prevention starts with awareness – one of those Where We Are factors in determining and getting to Where We’re Going.  Obviously, we want to go to some destination that we determine, not one that is determined for us… (The up and coming generation is going to have to mount DAPR principles and warnings on a national scale – to a degree not quite yet appreciated).

I think it’s possible to do all of this without being too draconian, and without sacrificing liberty and Constitutional principles… but only if we move ahead of, and guard against, threats.

Chapter 21 of I.T. WARS well-documents the challenges and what is required… now.  And…

We must determine the future… before the future determines us.

Stay safe out there…  Note to my friends in the Columbus area:  Hope you can make it to my upcoming presentation at AITP.


On this day:  The first adhesive postage stamps in the U.S. are issued on February 15th, 1842 by a private delivery company, in New York, NY.


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