“Imagined villains include hackers, bloggers and even reporters,” writes the AP of DHS’s massive “Cyber Storm” wargame two years ago, but the details are thin. Glenn Reynolds, terrorist?
It’s the government’s idea of a really bad day: Washington’s Metro trains shut down. Seaport computers in New York go dark. Bloggers reveal locations of railcars with hazardous materials. Airport control towers are disrupted in Philadelphia and Chicago. Overseas, a mysterious liquid is found on London’s subway…
After mock electronic attacks overwhelmed computers at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, an unspecified “major news network” airing reports about the attackers refused to reveal its sources to the government. Other simulated reporters were duped into spreading “believable but misleading” information that worsened fallout by confusing the public and financial markets, according to the government’s files.
Joyner wonders why bloggers would need to pass along state secrets or enemy propaganda when the AP and New York Times are already so good at it. The “unwitting dupe” scenario is more likely — some of the early false reports about 9/11, like Flight 93 landing in Cleveland, are alive and well in some unwell quarters today — but if anything, the collective intelligence of the ‘sphere would help to debunk rumors, not spread them.
What does the bit about revealing the locations of hazardous materials mean, though? Are they suggesting bloggers would do this … intentionally? As in, a genuine fifth-column scenario?