9-11 Cyber Hack To Be As ‘Big’ As World Trade Center Attack?

Posted on 05 December 2012 by author

Several months ago, cyber attacks on institutions like Bank of America, Saudi Aramco and Wells Fargo prompted warnings of scenarios straight out of the TV series The Walking Dead, but without the zombies. According to US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, a cyber attack on the US would first cause the financial system to break down, with citizens unable to get their money. It will then be followed with power and water companies shutting down and within days, people would be roving the streets, looting or foraging for food.

Now it’s John McConnell, former American intelligence chief, who’s sounding the warning bell and says that unless the government takes action, the US will soon experience a cyber attack with the same magnitude as the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center. In a discussion with the Financial Times, McConnell reiterated the vision that Panetta painted. He also cited the cyber attacks on the websites of several banks and big companies as proof of an imminent attack on the US that can happen anytime and urges political and business leaders to “wake up” and take concrete measures. What measures the former Intelligence chief wants to happen is unknown, but he has been very vocal about his disappointment that a comprehensive cyber security bill failed to pass the US Senate.

While the warnings McConnell is perpetuating are indeed alarming, some sectors are taking it with a grain of salt and wondering if there’s any ulterior motive behind it. After all, this is the man who’s heading Booz Allen Hamilton, one of the biggest consulting firms in the world today that specialize in management and technology. So it’s practically McConnell’s job to make this cyber threat seem realistic or dangerous since companies like the one he’s heading will be the ones to benefit the most. It also doesn’t help McConnell’s street cred that while he blames Iran for the attacks on Aramco and US banks and believes the country will probably work with Russian and Chinese hackers, he has also admitted that he doubts such groups have the tools to launch such a dangerous attack right now. However, he does believe that these “sophisticated tools,” whatever they are, will soon fall into dangerous hands. How soon? That is something that not even McConnell can answer.



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