It turns out that my guide to writing the scariest cyberwarfare story ever wasn't produced in vain. Only three days in - and Human Events (of all places) runs a story (check the title - "Cyber Zombies V. Civil-Liberties" that would surely scare their readers into shutting down any gadget they own (and still, there is something eerie about Human Events writing about cyber events).
In terms of cliches used, this is a record that would be hard to beat. All the ingridients are in order: Georgia, Estonia, electric grid, CIA, Obama-cracking-down-on-civil-liberties meme, "zombies", reportfrom a Washington think-tank, and whole TWO references to 9/11. If you don't duck and cover after you read this, well, you are probably threatening national security!
America faces a potential threat that could have consequences far beyond the 9/11 attack. There are no bullets, bombs or enemy soldiers -- just digits; zeroes and ones in fact, the stuff of the Internet. The perpetrators could be in the U.S. or hidden in distant lands analyzing our vulnerabilities and raising an invisible army that on command could rapidly strike our economy, infrastructure and military defenses.
This isn’t a fairy tale or a sci-fi movie like The Matrix. It is a clear and present danger and as close as your PC.
Last week, national security officials reported that cyberspies had penetrated the U.S. electrical grid and embedded software programs that could be used to disrupt or destroy the grid. Unfortunately, such occurrences are increasing and the threat is growing more sophisticated. Our government and society must either quickly adjust to the threat or face dire consequences and hopefully this won’t become a license for the Obama administration to trash our civil liberties.
The article is full of such great stuff. Got it: the Obama administration cracking down on civil liberties, of all things? Only in cyberspace.
Evgeny Morozov, originally from Belarus, is a visiting scholar at Stanford and a Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation.