That’s the title of an editorial on Slate.com discussing cyberterrorism. It has been forwarded to me by several friends indicating that I should respond. I just don’t have the bandwidth for a formal response and this angle has already been addressed in several of my articles including “Taking Cyberterrorism Seriously” by Neal Pollard and myself. Skepticism is healthy, but failing to account for legitimate emerging threats can also be dangerous. The slate article dwells on old stories and scenarios and fails to address the fact that our infrastructures are increasingly operated and controled by technology, that technology is inherently vulnerable and that creates a window of opportunity for someone or some entity with the right combination of intent and capability to launch an attack of consequence. Remember, attacks of consequence aren’t planes crashing or stock markets going off-line. The attacks can be much more subtle and still have a political coercive or economic impact.
“Seemingly innocuous movies occasionally have nasty, unintended consequences. Jaws creator Peter Benchley, for example, believes his tale of underwater mayhem has driven mankind to hunt several lethal shark species to the brink of extinction. Jodie Foster’s bawdy turn in Taxi Driver helped stir would-be Reagan assassin John Hinckley Jr. to violence. And the 1983 Matthew Broderick vehicle WarGames convinced everyone that a lone hacker can wipe out the West Coast as easily as booting up Excel. Full Story.”