OK: 10 Years and $35 Billion! And It Bought Us?

Ten Years and $35 Billion Later: The State of National Security

A hearing of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee looked at the current state of security in the decade following the 9/11 attacks. After an approximate $35 billion was spent on security grants aimed at preventing future large scale events of that kind, no one has been able to effectively measure the quality of security.

The Internet Is Everywhere

One of the key obstacles to a more secure infrastructure is the fact that every aspect of corporate and government life is tied to the internet, an entity that is not free from attacks. The US economy, government, and daily life are all interwoven through cyberspace, and we are so dependent on the internet as to be vulnerable in a wide variety of ways.

Threat of a “Cyber Pearl Harbor” and “Cyber Katrina”

In the hearing, various testimony was given as to the likelihood of a large scale cyberattack that caused swift and far reaching harm to US infrastructure. Referred to as a Cyber Pearl Harbor, an attack of this kind can come from a wide variety of threats. In addition, reference was made to a “Cyber Katrina,” or rather, an attack or event that sparked a chain reaction of other crisis events, all aimed at laying waste to internet-based systems.

According to one official’s testimony at the hearing, it is no longer a matter of whether or not someone will actually attempt such an attack, but instead a matter of how will the US be prepared for this type of event in order to minimize damage.

Cyber Attack Combined with Natural Disaster

One of the worst envisioned scenarios the US may very likely face is a large-scale cyber attack, coupled with—either intentionally or unintentionally—a natural disaster. In the face of both levels of harm to the US infrastructure, either of the events may have been avoidable and recoverable, but combined the damage may be too great to recover from.