Why The Next Cyber Attack Could Be As Deadly As A Nuclear Weapon


It’s the week before Christmas, the busiest
traveling season of the year for American airlines. All across the nation travelers are making
their way home for the holidays, and millions of Americans are currently either in the air
or waiting their turn to board their next flight. Somewhere in the American midwest, a family
approaches a check-in counter to get their boarding passes, but as the ticket agent checks
their names in the online passenger registry, there’s a mistake- the family’s names simply
aren’t there. The family, now growing worried, shows the
ticket agent their email receipt, along with a confirmation number. The agent checks the number, which rings true,
except the passengers assigned that number aren’t the ones currently asking to receive
their boarding passes. Two ticket counters down, the same mistake
is happening, and at another airline yet another family and ticket agent are going through
the same issue. Inside the airport proper itself, TSA agents
are checking boarding passes and passenger IDs. As one of the TSA agents swipes a passenger’s
boarding pass he’s surprised to discover that this middle-aged mother of three is on the
government’s official no-fly list. Even more troubling, she’s actually been listed
as wanted by government agencies for making terror threats. The suburbian mother of three is led away
in handcuffs, bewildered and proclaiming her innocence, as her family is held in a separate
holding area by airport security. Fifteen minutes later another passenger is
flagged as no-fly, and also as wanted for making terror threats- this time an elderly
man of 75. In another terminal, the exact same scenario
is playing out, and then repeating itself in a second airport a few hundred miles away. The FAA, responsible for all civilian air
traffic in the US, very quickly realizes that something is wrong. What started as an isolated incident in a
remote midwest airport has quickly spread across the nation. Now hundreds, and soon thousands, of passengers
have been falsely flagged as no-fly’ers, or as wanted for making terror threats. Tens of thousands of travelers are having
their boarding passes denied due to what seems to be computer error. Within the next hour that number will double. An emergency alert reaches the offices of
the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Defense’s US Cyber Command
nearly simultaneously. Within minutes the president’s been alerted-
American domestic airlines and airports have been targeted by a massive cyber attack, and
even more troubling is the fact that they seem to have penetrated the report and alerting
systems of the Department of Homeland Security itself. Lacking a centralized cyber command structure,
the US government reels as it tries to coordinate a response to the attack amidst the busiest
traveling season of the year, each cyber agency pursuing its own agenda. Inside a gas-fired power plant deep in Minnesota,
a few dozen lines of malicious code knock the temperature monitoring and control and
the gas injection systems of the gas turbines offline. Unknown to the plant’s operators, more gas
is being mixed into the stream of air that enters the turbine, causing larger combustion
events. Just a few minutes later the first turbine
explodes, critically damaging its neighbors, which very quickly go offline as well. Across a corner of Minnesota, thousands of
homes lose power, and along with their power- their heating as well. The icy chill of a below zero Minnesota winter
grips the occupants of the affected homes as the gas plant operators survey the wreckage-
the plant’s four gas turbines are completely destroyed, it will take weeks before the plant
is back online. Similar events begin to occur in natural gas
power plants around the country, all in rapid succession. Whoever has perpetrated this cyber attack
knows that they have to move quickly, or else their malicious code can be automatically
discovered and fixed by vigilant cyber security tools. Forty five percent of the US’s natural gas
plants- all of them lacking critical security updates to software- are knocked offline,
causing approximately 16% of the nation to lose power. Along with power, millions of homes have now
lost heating as well, and all this in the grip of the middle of winter. In the skies above a United States caught
in the grip of a cyber-Pearl Harbor, an airliner filled with 187 passengers experiences what
seems to be an instrument malfunction. Descending for a landing through turbulent
winter weather, the plane is using its precision approach and landing system to ‘see’ digitally
through the terrible exterior conditions. Breaking through the clouds and icy fog, the
pilots are horrified to discover that the GPS signals they’ve been relying on to guide
their descent have been inaccurate by several hundred feet. The pilots struggle to bring the plane up
out of its descent, but conditions on the ground were so terrible that the plane only
got a good visual on the ground from barely a thousand feet up. With a fiery explosion, an entire passenger
liner goes up in flames. Similar incidents are happening across the
nation, though thankfully weather is clear enough for pilots to correct their descents
in the majority of cases. Only two other planes are lost due to the
mysterious glitch- though a corruption of a plane’s navigation systems causes one other
airliner to fly out into the Atlantic ocean, believing itself to still be on approach to
airports on the east coast. By the time the mistake is discovered by the
crew it is too late, and the plane does not have the fuel needed to return to the mainland. Coast guard vessels are dispatched in advance,
though none believe anyone will survive the crash into stormy winter seas. In the waters of the Gulf of Mexico though,
almost two thousand oil platforms are pumping away twenty four hours a day, bringing tens
of thousands of barrels of oil to the surface from deep beneath the sea. Hundreds of these platforms are struck simultaneously
with malicious code similar to the type used to attack American natural gas plants. Pressure sensors are disabled, and as the
wells continue to pump unchecked, hundreds of them suffer catastrophic bursts or breaks
in their piping. Millions of gallons of oil begin to spill
unchecked into the American gulf, causing the worst maritime ecological disaster in
human history. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill would eventually
release 4.9 million barrels of oil into the environment- but this massive disaster will
end up releasing over triple that amount before the last of the wellhead breeches are sealed
in the following weeks. Marine life in the Gulf of Mexico will die
in record numbers, and the federal government, along with the government of Mexico and other
Central and Southern American nations issue a decade-long moratorium on fishing in an
effort to allow the Gulf’s dwindling wildlife to restore itself. The economic damage to the United States from
the fishing moratorium will run into the hundreds of billions over the course of the ten-year
ban, though more immediately with 17% of US oil production coming from the Gulf, the disaster
will skyrocket global oil prices and force the United States to rely much more heavily
on foreign oil. This inevitably drives the United States even
closer to a Saudi Arabia that it has been trying to distance itself from for the last
decade over the nation’s human rights abuses record, and Saudi Arabia in turn uses the
opportunity to strike out at its regional rival- Iran. The US and Iran are thus perched on the precipice
of a new war, secretly being manipulated by the Saudi government which is blackmailing
the US into doing its dirty work for it. Just twenty four hours after the start of
what is now being officially called Cyber Pearl Harbor, casualties are already streaming
into hospital emergency rooms due to the effect of extreme cold on millions of Americans left
without power or heating. The first casualties are the very young and
elderly, yet as the days carry on more and more Americans will need medical attention
as they’re forced to endure extreme cold winter temperatures. With a massive interruption to US oil production,
the diesel generators that hospitals in the affected areas are relying on to operate are
starting to run out of what is very quickly becoming expensive fuel. The US military is dispatched to assist in
humanitarian missions across the affected areas, and the strategic oil reserve is tapped
for the first time in over a decade. For many though it will be too late, and tens
of thousands of the most vulnerable- the sick, the elderly, and the young, have already succumbed
to the cold. To make matters worse, the attack against
airport cyber infrastructure has stranded one hundred thousand travelers in airports
all across the US. Unable to verify the identity of individuals
digitally, a painstaking analog method must be implemented as travel reservations and
flight clearances are sorted. Hundreds of planes have been grounded though
due to the attack on navigation systems, and some airlines have seen their entire fleet
grounded pending emergency fixes. The fixes will take time though, and it will
be weeks before the US’s air fleet is once more in the sky in force. The stranded travelers will themselves take
a week or more to make their way home, further adding to the strain on communities rocked
by the gas plant attacks and an economy nose-diving from the disruption of oil production in the
American gulf. Just two days later, an attack on the nation’s
financial systems brings down banking services across eighteen percent of the US’s banks. Wall Street panics as the nation comes under
attack and stock prices plummet. Fortunes are lost overnight, and blue-chip
companies such as Microsoft and Apple take losses in the hundreds of millions. A new Great Depression dawns on America as
panicked Americans rush to banks and withdraw their money, collapsing the national banking
system. The previous scenario is clearly fictional,
but it is a picture of what may possibly be in store for America- or another nation- as
the world becomes ever more dependent on digital infrastructure. For now an attack on such a massive scale,
targeting so many different digital networks, would be impossible, as such an attack would
require the coordination of a vast array of cyber assets and the development of an equal
number of specialized cyberweapons. Neither of those two could be carried out
by any nation without the intelligence services of another nation discovering it. Famously, the US and Israel’s Stuxnet virus
attacks against Iran’s nuclear program were many times nearly discovered by accident,
and that was only a single cyber weapon and a single offensive cyber operation. For now the previous scenario remains in the
realm of fantasy, but the grim reality is that such an event is extremely possible in
the very near future, and the consequences would be just as disastrous as those in our
hypothetical cyber Pearl Harbor- if not worse. For almost eight decades the world has kept
its precarious balance on the edge of nuclear war thanks to the concept of MAD, or Mutually
Assured Destruction. In essence MAD is boiled down to, ‘if you
fire your nukes I will detect it and fire off my nukes’. Since nobody likes having nuclear weapons
rain down on their heads, nobody ever fired off an ICBM at their enemy. Yet cyber weapons are far more subtle, and
difficult to detect, than a nuclear weapon. By their very nature they can make it difficult
to even discover who launched an attack in the first place after one takes place. This can embolden nations, or even individuals
and terrorist groups, to launch ambitious attacks in order to subvert their foes. In fact, the seeds of such an attack have
already been planted around the world, and it is well known that Russian agents have
penetrated the systems of many US power plants- with the United States having returned the
favor in kind. In a recent testimony to congress, a Department
of Defense official stated that the cyber realm is the only warfighting domain that
the US does not enjoy a large advantage in. Here the United State’s defensive and offensive
capabilities are pretty much on par with those of China, Russia, and even Iran. To make matters worse, nearly a quarter of
all cyber security jobs in the US are unfilled due to a lack of qualified candidates, and
those that are filled often times have individuals who are not qualified for the job. Clearly the US is vulnerable to such a cyber
Pearl Harbor, and the fear today and for our foreseeable future remains, what if someone
becomes bold enough to attempt the attack? Do you think a digital Pearl Harbor is inevitable? Should the US be spending more on cyber security? Let us know in the comments! And if you enjoyed this video then check out
how the US attacked Iran digitally in The Virus That Saved The World From Nuclear Iran. As always if you enjoyed this video then don’t
forget to Like, Share, and Subscribe for more great content!

100 thoughts on “Why The Next Cyber Attack Could Be As Deadly As A Nuclear Weapon

  1. Mr boomer talking: peuple said in 2000 a metior was gonne fall but what happened not a metior a war fell what you sientests what are you doing trying to scare us get out right now we don't need no sientests if you want you want to say something then make it more bilivable wth

  2. Lol this show finna just gave away a master plan for advanced destruction with Cyber Pearl Harbour.

    Ik that the idea was to show the possibility and alert peeps about it …but in reality…uk that anyone with access to this video and an added interest could easily plan it. In essence this video is becoming the very thing its trying to expose and destroy.

    Demerits of Age of Information and Tech smh.
    ~Lord Star ☆♕

  3. thus being selfsufficient is best. let the 50% of Us lives in 20 counties(blue), things will level back out & there will be fewer snowflakes. =D

  4. This is the last video I'll ever watch from Infographics Show. I understand that this is a for profit venture, but I can't stand the repeated commercial interruptions. Put the ads at the beginning and maybe a set in the middle, but 3 breaks mid-video that just cuts into dialogue is just to irritating. Too bad, they're very interesting videos.

  5. The USA needs to take this seriously we have already been hacked in the 2016 elections and Russia will try it again we need to get a better cyber net and hire more people who can try to track the code to the country and we also need to sign in the green new deal so that we can use more electric cars and get more solar power to charge batteries so that we don’t have to pay for fuel whoever gets in next year needs to look at the bigger picture and get things ready for the future if our government can’t do that then they need to leave and put one of us in congress so that things can get done and working on today’s problems for tomorrow’s horizon

  6. Yes, I do agree a digital Pearl Harbor is inevitable. But I want to ask, how vulnerable is Russian infrastructure to cyberattacks? More or less so than those in the US?

  7. Sorry but no if people are really that capable of that cyber attacks they should delete everyone's credit card debt and student loans

  8. Dont worry you can go back to the old days and still live just use solar on your house for heating and have a pet chicken to make you breakfast also few cows for milk.also dont ride car ride a horse .wanting to travel in air use your own compass and look down below. If money drops make your own currency for the city that cant be swapped like $ into your currency.

  9. You know YouTube security itself is quite bad. I can go onto the computer and delete this channel from existence in about 45 minutes.

  10. The United States doesnt need Saudi Arabian oil when it is a net positive Energy producer. The world needs their oil, and pretending otherwise is silly.

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