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Catastrophic Telecommunications Cyber Attacks Are Impossible Essay

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At this juncture, it may be somewhat difficult to accept the proposition that a threat to the telecommunications grid, both wired and wireless, in the United States could potentially be subject to a catastrophic cyber attack. After careful research on the subject, it appears the potentiality of an event of such magnitude, which either disrupts one or the other grids for a long period or destroys either, is both theoretically and realistically impossible. It may be that proponents—those who advance such theories—equate such “doomsday” scenarios as if a cyber attack would or could be of the same magnitude as a conventional or nuclear military strike. Terms such as “cyber Pearl Harbor,” “cyber 9/11” and “cyber Vietnam” have been used to describes potential catastrophic cyber attacks and yet, “Though many have posited notions on what a ‘real’ cyber war would be like, we lack the understanding of how such conflicts will be conducted and evolve.” (Rattray & Healey, 2010, p. 77). Yet, the U.S. government continues to focus on such events, as if the plausibility of small-scale cyber attacks were not as pressing.
In 2010, former senior U.S. officials conducted a simulation imagining of a catastrophic cyber attack, the origins of which came by way of a mobile application having malware that was self-replicating that eventually overwhelmed wireless networks and disabled portions of wired network communications and the internet as well as curtailing electrical supply channels and oil and gas pipelines (Corbin, 2010). Rather than consider the likelihood of such a catastrophe, the panel took the position that if such an event were to occur the government would have to take over telecommunications in this country, eight-five percent of which o...


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...n the age of catastrophic terrorism. London: Routledge.
Kotapati, K., Liu, P., Sun, Y., & LaPorta, T. F. (2005). A taxonomy of cyber attacks on 3G networks. In Intelligence and Security Informatics (pp. 631-633). Retrieved November 11, 2013 from http://nsrc.cse.psu.edu/tech_report/NAS-TR-0021-2005.pdf
Program on Telecommunications and Cybersecurity Policy. (n.d.). The Global Information Society Project Program for Telecommunications Policy. Retrieved November 11, 2013, from http://www.telecom-program.org/
Rattray, G., & Healey, J. (2010). Catagorizing and understanding offensive cyber capabilities
and their use. In Committee on Deterring Cyber attacks: Informing Strategies and Developing Options (Ed.), Proceedings of a Workshop on Deterring Cyber attacks: Informing Strategies and Developing Options for U.S. Policy. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.



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