Dangers Lurking in Computerland

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

There are dangers in this world, which we cannot protect ourselves from with a gun. We’ve seen this, this year, through the Coronavirus pandemic. I don’t care how good a shot you are, you can’t hit something you can’t see, and a virus is too small to see. Besides, there’s so many of them, we’d never get them all.

But a biological virus isn’t the only kind which can hurt us, there’s the computer kind as well. Named for its ability to spread, infecting and reproducing, the computer virus does much the same to our computers, as a biological virus can do to our bodies.

But all those computer viruses have one thing in common… a human creator. Someone creates them with malicious forethought, either for personal financial gain or just to cause problems for others. In either case, those whose computers are victimized often go through extensive turmoil, trying to get their computer healthy again.

But what about when that happens to the computers which run our country? In 1999 there was major concern about what would happen to our computers when the calendar rolled over to the year 2000. Apparently they had not been built with that in mind and there was much concern about the “Y2K bug” bringing everything to a standstill. Fortunately, we sailed through that rough water without a problem.

We’re faced with something at least that serious right now. The hacking of America’s computers through SolarWinds software is probably the most masterful stroke of computer hacking, malware and espionage, all rolled into one. We’re only now finding out about this, after it running six to nine months, and we have yet to see what the full impact could be.

But allow me to be negative for a moment, if I might. The 18,000+ computer networks that are infected with this hack right now belong to many of the nation’s top government agencies, our largest corporations and our largest electrical power plants. That probably includes a number of nuclear power plants as well. the hackers, who are reported to work for the Russian government, have been downloading information from those computer networks for six to nine months. By now, they know everything there is to know about those organizations, their operations and their computer security.

What that means is that if the Russians want to, they can shut off most of our country at the flip of a switch. We have 22,731 power plants in the US. How many of those power plants would they have to shut down, before it caused cascading failures to the grid, shutting everything down? How long would it take to recover from such an event? Would it be as bad as an EMP?

It’s hard to answer such questions, because there are too many unknowns. But one thing is certain, if they want to; the Russian Federation is in a position to destroy the United States, right now. We are just too dependent on our computers and our electricity to survive without them.

I’m not trying to preach doom and gloom here. It seems that if the intent of the Russians was to shut us down, they would have done so by now, not just spy on our government agencies, utilities and companies through the backdoor they created in SolarWinds software. But that’s not to say that the next such attack won’t be for that purpose. We just don’t know.

To me, this just enforces the argument of why we need to be prepared for anything. As a society, we are so dependent on our computers, that literally everything could be shut down by a problem with them. All of our infrastructure, all of our utilities and our entire supply chain is computer controlled. Should those computers fail or be taken over by an enemy, our nation would fail as well.

By the way, according to records I’ve seen, our electric grid gets “tickled” by hackers several times a day. As of yet, they haven’t gotten in to our nuclear power plants (they did get into one in India), but they have gotten into other parts of the grid, specifically other power plants. At least that means they can’t cause those plants to blow up… yet. Those plants are totally off the grid, denying hackers access to their control systems. But that only accounts for about 20% of our power production; what about the rest?

Are you ready, in case the grid goes down? Are you ready in case everything goes down? There are more dangers in the world than we actually realize and many that we can’t even see. Not all of those can be solved with a gun.

Get prepared and stay prepared; not just for COVID, but for whatever is coming next. That’s why I’m always saying to keep your powder dry and your survival gear close at hand.

Dr. Rich

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