Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared
In this tour de force of investigative reporting, Ted Koppel reveals that a major cyberattack on America’s power grid is not only possible but likely, that it would be devastating, and that the United States is shockingly unprepared.
Imagine a blackout lasting not days, but weeks or months. Tens of millions of people over several states are affected. For those without access to a generator, there is no running water, no sewage, no refrigeration or light. Food and medical supplies are dwindling. Devices we rely on have gone dark. Banks no longer function, looting is widespread, and law and order are being tested as never before.
It isn’t just a scenario. A well-designed attack on just one of the nation’s three electric power grids could cripple much of our infrastructure—and in the age of cyberwarfare, a laptop has become the only necessary weapon. Several nations hostile to the United States could launch such an assault at any time. In fact, as a former chief scientist of the NSA reveals, China and Russia have already penetrated the grid. And a cybersecurity advisor to President Obama believes that independent actors—from “hacktivists” to terrorists—have the capability as well. “It’s not a question of if,” says Centcom Commander General Lloyd Austin, “it’s a question of when.”
And yet, as Koppel makes clear, the federal government, while well prepared for natural disasters, has no plan for the aftermath of an attack on the power grid. The current Secretary of Homeland Security suggests keeping a battery-powered radio.
In the absence of a government plan, some individuals and communities have taken matters into their own hands. Among the nation’s estimated three million “preppers,” we meet one whose doomsday retreat includes a newly excavated three-acre lake, stocked with fish, and a Wyoming homesteader so self-sufficient that he crafted the thousands of adobe bricks in his house by hand. We also see the unrivaled disaster preparedness of the Mormon church, with its enormous storehouses, high-tech dairies, orchards, and proprietary trucking company – the fruits of a long tradition of anticipating the worst. But how, Koppel asks, will ordinary civilians survive?
With urgency and authority, one of our most renowned journalists examines a threat unique to our time and evaluates potential ways to prepare for a catastrophe that is all but inevitable.
I found this book very informative and enlightening. I took my time reading this boo only because I wanted to digest the information that was in this book longer. Mr. Koppel brings the news to you and does not stray from it. Anyone interested and intrigued by world events or the cyber world will find this book a great read. I was drawn in by Mr. Koppel's writing. Also, I found his interviews with people fascinating. It did not seem like the things the people said were edited to the point that you could read this information on the internet and I did not feel like I was shorted by facts.
In fact, the more that I read the more I realized that sometimes not knowing is living in happy bliss. What I mean by this is that when you don't know everything that is going on behind the scenes like a movie than you still enjoy that movie but how many times have you read about the way a movie was made and maybe your perspective about that movie was changed. All I have to say is that "Zombies" are not the thing that we need to fear but a cyberattack. Which the government already is aware of could happen and they have prepared while the rest of the world is living in "happy bliss".