I must comment regarding this new Washington Post piece.  As I've noted before, I view much of the panicky cyberwar talk as being largely the self-promoting propaganda of what I call the cyberscare-industrial complex.  Big bucks to be made there.  And much of the rest is jockeying for position among various government agencies.  Also not to be discounted, the major degree to which "cyberattacks" can be used as excuses to attack back at pretty much whomever you wish -- since true sources may be difficult or impossible to discover or demonstrate.  

But this particular article demonstrates another class of fallacies about "cyberwar" where it says, "If a major cyberattack happened — a computer virus knocking out air traffic control, for instance, and sending planes crashing to the ground ..."

That statement is pretty much nonsense -- because ATC systems already crash -- a lot -- and we don't have planes "crashing to the ground" as a result.  There are backup radar systems, backup radio systems, and the main thing that happens is that everybody gets spaced farther apart and operations slow way down.  And obviously, we need to make sure that more advanced systems now coming online also provide suitable manual backups.

But this is an example of the fallacy that it's straightforward to knock out power, water, and other key infrastructures with viruses in a manner that would be prolonged and not subject to manual overrides, controls, and restarts.  

And in the vast majority of cases such a supposition is not accurate, though it plays into the fear scenarios that the big money and "big control" boys of cyberwar desperately want to promulgate as widely as possible.  They must do this to justify enormous expenditures and (respectively) to establish more government control over privately owned Internet systems.

This is not to say that cyberattacks and cybersecurity aren't real issues.  They are.  They're very important, and we have a lot of work to do toward properly securing all manner of systems.  But a great deal of what we're being fed about "Cyber Pearl Harbors" and the like is self-serving nonsense.

-- Lauren --
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