Are You Cyber Proof Yet?
By: Tom Chatham
The events of the past few days show just how vulnerable the U.S. is to cyber warfare. Many people have read about the problems that can occur if the infrastructure is attacked and disabled or destroyed cutting everyone off to essential services. Here are some of the services that were compromised on just one day this week.
– The WSJ suffered computer problems resulting in outage
– Service providers such as Verizon, AT&T and Sprint suffered computer problems affecting their services
-The NYSE was down for almost 4 hours due to a computer “glitch”
– United Airlines was grounded nationwide as computer problems shut down their operations
These four incidents, while not officially due to cyber attack, are just an example of what is possible if cyber attackers wish to do some harm. These four incidents cover, transportation, communication, information and financial sectors of the economy. The very things society depends on to function correctly. The only one missing is power.
Some insiders believe this was just a beta test for things to come. If that is so then the American people have much to worry about. It is bad enough if these threats are foreign born but the American people have just as much to fear from their own government today. The executive orders and military posturing going on leave little room for speculation that elements of our government are planning and expecting something catastrophic to happen in the near future.
If the U.S. is hit with a massive cyber attack, it will cause chaos nationwide within minutes as services are interrupted and people find themselves without the support systems they rely on every day. The loss of services for a few hours is an inconvenience but the loss for several days or weeks would be life threatening. That is something most Americans are not prepared for. They have complete faith in the government to protect them and provide the things they need. That faith will be the undoing of many people when the time comes. That is because these people have abdicated their responsibility to take care of themselves and their family to the government.
The people that see or at least fear what could happen in an uncertain world, have taken the necessary steps to make a loss of services as minor as possible. Many of these people have gone off the grid to provide the every day necessities their family needs free of the trappings of modern society.
Even if you do not go completely off the grid, you can do many simple things to insure your family will be safe and secure when the electrons that modern society is built on stop flowing. There are many annual disasters and smaller problems that cut off services to people. It might be a flood, hurricane or ice storm that cuts you off from the outside world for days at a time. Many people have learned from their past experiences and taken steps to provide the things they will lose if that type of thing happens again. The problem is that the vast majority go back to their normal lives after suffering the hardship of disaster and think nothing more until it happens again.
When you think about the many different things that could happen to you it is easy to come up with a list of things you would suffer without. Being in a rural area and suffering from an ice storm that cuts off power, communications and travel ability is similar to what would happen if a cyber attack took down most systems in the winter.
You would need the same back-up systems in both cases. You would need food, water, light and heat at the very least. Non-electric systems are a must when something like this happens. About the only thing you need electrical power for is refrigeration over long periods and winter weather could help with that if you have a window box or cooler to take advantage of the outside refrigeration capability. In warmer climates the possession of an absorption or propane refrigerator will allow you to keep items frozen or cool for several weeks with only a few 20lb.cannisters of propane.
Propane will also take care of heating, cooking and lighting needs if you want to go that route. Otherwise, wood heat and basic lighting such as kerosene lamps, candles or small battery powered lamps can take care of your other environmental needs. The storage of basic foods, especially canned goods, and sufficient water will also insure your family has the things they need to ride out the situation. In the event you can buy or trade in the aftermath of the disaster it is always good to have some cash on hand and maybe some gold or silver for long term problems.
These basic things are the basis of being immune from the types of problems brought about by a loss of electrical technologies that bring society to a halt. The ability to communicate with others in the absence of public communication systems and the ability to maintain security in the absence of law enforcement are also things that need to be looked at for serious, long term situations. The ability to provide for sanitation during disasters is also something few prepare for so that needs to be addressed as well. A simple outhouse is worth its weight in gold when sanitation systems cease to function properly.
These items are practically immune from any cyber attack and will allow you to maintain minimum living standards for long periods of time in the event it becomes necessary. One does not have to go to extremes to become cyber proof. The security provided by normal camping supplies and preparations will go a long way to keeping you safe and healthy when technology fails. If everyone was a prepper, disasters would be non-events for most people and cyber threats would be little more than minor inconveniences.