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The Cyber War: Where Science Fiction Meets Reality

The Cyber War

The threat of nuclear provocation aside, direct military confrontation is actually not, these days at least, at the forefront of NATO’s mind when it comes to threats like Russian foreign aggression, the rise of China, international terrorism, or the state of North Korea. What is, however, is cyber-attacks. These are so dangerous in large part because they are far more difficult to attribute to any one particular culprit, making any retaliation similarly difficult, which creates an open invitation for it. Covert or not, a cyber-attack is nothing short of an act of war because, like any other, it threatens not only the security of a nation but its citizens’ lives. 

Loss Of Medical Records

These days, most medical records are stored digitally for good reason, as this makes them harder to lose and easier to access by doctors when needed. If you have ever worked in the medico-legal sector or in medicine directly, you would know how staggering the mountain of documentation that goes into protecting both public and individual patient health is. Without these records, diseases can be misdiagnosed, medical treatments can be misguided, prescriptions can be miscalculated, and life-threatening conditions can be missed entirely. Cyber-attacks have the ability to compromise this data on a mass scale, directly putting hundreds of thousands of patients in terrible danger. 

Logistical Chaos

Not only do sat navs work via global positioning systems (GPS), but rail networks, airlines, and shipping lanes also require satellites to get from A to B to meet the strict time schedules they are set, as navigating by the stars is a little archaic. These trade routes are the lifeblood of the world economy, upon which countries rely for food, industry, and virtually every material resource. Attack these satellites, and you can easily plunge an entire nation into an economic and resource catastrophe. 

Electrical Blackouts

Blackouts are not merely inconvenient if you rely on any form of electricity in any way to keep you safe. This is not forgetting the fact that anyone attached to a life-support machine of any kind would immediately require a backup system merely to survive, and that vital operating system would also be compromised, including everything from traffic lights to water distribution networks. Hopefully, there won’t be any blackouts when you’re next looking for internet service near Sun City Festival, though. 

National Security

All of this carnage is before we even get to the direct national security threat of knocking out armed forces’ ability to coordinate and mobilize to deter, prevent, or retaliate against a direct attack, either by an air strike or by naval or ground assault. Missile tracking and interception may also be compromised, leaving a country wide open to long-range bombardment, but the most worrying threat by far is the prospect of control over nuclear weapon systems being lost. 

Nuclear warfare is prevented via the threat of mutually assured destruction, as all sides who possess them to know that there is enough ammunition in the form of nuclear warheads in the world to quite literally end life on earth if a global conflict were to escalate to that level. Remove that Mexican standoff and one side can then use its nuclear capabilities with impunity. If you’ve ever seen Chornobyl or seen a documentary on the victims of Hiroshima or Nagasaki, then you’ll hopefully understand why this can never ever be allowed to happen. 

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