“Panetta Warns of Dire Threat of Cyberattack on U.S.”
That was the headline in The New York Times on October 11, 2012.
In Web of Deceit: Misinformation and Manipulation in the Age of Social Media, Deb Liptak documents decades of cyberwarfare and explains the technologies behind it. Working with her on her chapter during the summer of 2010 prepared me to understand the news that broke that month about the Stuxnet virus that infected Siemens mainframes, including the ones in Iran that are used in their nuclear program. There was a flurry of news about it, but it faded off the front pages for more than two years until last week. The rational part of my brain is glad Panetta brought it back into the national awareness. The irrational part of my brain is in denial.
It reminded me of the Mad Magazine spoofs in the late 1950s called “Spy vs. Spy”, only this time the stakes are real and incredibly high. It’s hard to read this news and not feel overwhelmed.
I backed up my computer again after reading that NYT article. Like taking a squirt gun to put out a fire, but did it anyway. It makes me feel less powerless in this war.