In an Age of Cyber Wars

 

I don’t own a smart phone. I use an old-fashioned flip phone and I have trouble reading texts or retrieving voice mail messages on it.

I don’t own a laptop or a notebook. I sit at a desk and type these blogs on a 10-year-old PC that crashes mysteriously from time to time.

As you might imagine, my background in electronics is scant. When I got a job editing user manuals three decades ago, I had to look up the meaning of “macro.”

So you can imagine how bewildered I am by today’s whirlwind advances in the cyber world.

And I suspect I am not alone.

As I scan pictures of our lawmakers, many with gray hair and wrinkled faces, I wonder how these old fogies are going  to cope with the sophisticated threats America is facing.

Today’s wars aren’t fought only with bombers and tanks.  They’re also fought with computers.  Armies of hackers are deployed to infiltrate and control an enemy’s electronic infrastructure.

So when I read that the Russians haven’t just hacked into our electoral systems but also into computers controlling power grids and nuclear plants, it seems obvious to me that America is under attack.

Putin’s cyber forces are burrowing into our national defenses even as he hugs his buddy Trump and amiably answers questions from American reporters.

And this is not just the addled opinion of an old Luddite like me. According to Dan Coats, the US director of National Intelligence :

Today, the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack.

How naive we must seem to our wily Russian invaders. How easy a target this country has become despite our monstrous defense budgets and nuclear arsenal.

While American battleships steam menacingly into the South China Sea and Trump brags about militarizing space, Russian attackers are hacking into the electronic brain that runs everything in America.

Who knows how deeply the Russian tentacles have spread? Who can guess what’s next?

The fogies in Congress want to know. A House subcommittee is holding hearings to try and figure things out. But they might be too late.

We may already be in Putin’s iron grip. Not just because he owns Trump, but because he might also control our country’s electronic brain.

An expert’s urgent warning

Hacking our power grid

Arrest of Russian attackers

What Congress is doing

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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