“In wartime, combatants often attempt to disrupt their enemies’ supply systems, generally by blowing them up. Modern life is made possible by a set of tightly interconnected systems supplying us with electricity, water, natural gas, automobile fuels, sewage treatment, food, finance, telecommunications, and emergency response. All of these systems are increasingly directed and monitored through the Internet. Would it be possible for our enemies to disrupt these vital systems by “blowing up” the Net?
“You have to be cautious when hearing from people engaging in fear-mongering about huge blackouts and collapses of critical infrastructures via the Internet,” University of Toronto cyberwarfare expert Ronald Deibert writes in the January/February 2011 Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. “There is a lot of redundancy in the networks; it’s not a simple thing to turn off the power grid.””