Cyberattacks Could Cripple U.S.

There may be more to fear than terrorists harboring nuclear weapons these days. According to a new book by former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, a technological attack could lead to an outcome worse than a nuclear attack—including widespread blackouts, transportation disasters, disappearing bank data, and the mechanical failure of chemical plants. Although the U.S. may boast top-of-the-line cyberoffense capacity, it lacks a robust defense system, Clarke says. Combine that with the country’s heavy reliance on technology, and the combination could spell trouble. According to Clarke, China maintains the ability to disconnect its networks from the rest of the global Internet, which could come in handy in the event of a cyberattack, and the Asian nation has been downsizing its military to favor new technologies since the Gulf War. Clarke’s book, The Next Threat to National Security and What to Do About It, suggests the best way to begin preparing for a possible attack is to remove critical infrastructure from “the open-to-anyone” Internet.