A blog commenter of mine recently pointed me to a comic story about Iran’s nuclear power plants being hit with by a malware attack that resulted in their computers play AC/DC music at full blast. The Iranian’s have no shortage of enemies and this is not the first cyber attack on their systems.
The worry here is that the same people who are assuring US Americans that these types of attacks are impossible in this country are the people who assured us that the Three Mile Island partial meltdown was impossible and we could never have a reactor compromised by flooding (as we saw with Fort Calhoun last summer). These are people who are paid to lie to you and they are people the mainstream media turn to every time they need an opinion about the safety of nuclear power.
Let’s assume you are a cash strapped terrorist. Your country or region or family has been destroyed by the US’s persistent attacks around the globe. You want to strike back at the US and you want to hit hard, maximizing the damage for the smallest investment. 9/11 has made the use of commercial jet liners as weapons basically impossible. Security is way too tight to repeat that trick. So where do you turn?
“Pre-deployed nuclear weapons” is what many critics of nuclear reactors call these facilities. What if you could get your hacker friend to break into the reactors computer and turn off some key component would cause an accident. A big enough accident at Indian Point (outside NYC) or Calvert Cliffs (outside Death City) would be a huge win for you and some type of justice for your people.
To be clear, i dont want these things to happen. And my analysis is the US foreign policy is an enemy making machine and this is part of the threat we look at for continuing these policies. 9/11 changed this country (mostly in bad ways), but it ended the notion that big high visibility attacks on civilians sparked by foreign nationals cant happen here. The question is what will the next one look like?