Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst

Did you have trouble contacting your bank online over the past couple of days?

It turns out that "a shadowy but well organized hacker group in the Middle East has disrupted the electronic banking operations of America's largest financial institutions. . . underscoring U.S. vulnerability to online terrorism." (LA Times)

That's one more item to add to our sack of new and exciting things to worry about! Taking a random walk through Google News last night, we found even more:

* The energy firm whose systems are used to control more than half of all oil and gas pipelines in North America and Latin America confirmed yesterday it is under a serious cyber-security attack. (ComputerWorld)

* One of the worst droughts in a half century is raising prices for some of the world's most important foodstuffs. (CSMonitor)

* Catalonia may vote to secede from Spain, bringing down Spanish banks and cracking the Eurozone. Credit Writedowns

- Climate change could cause "killer hurricanes" in New York City. A simulation model by Princeton researchers warns of storms "the likes of which have not been seen." (US News)

* Earth has about a one-in-eight chance of being hit with an "extreme" solar flare in the next decade that could potentially cause billions of dollars in damage and cripple electronic communication systems. (US News)

* An asteroid big enough to vaporize New York City and most of New England strikes Earth roughly once every 300,000 years, and it's about due. See Sandia National Labs' model of the event here

* An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack on the United States would change the “very fabric of U.S. society,” and millions could potentially lose their lives in the aftermath. A US commission suggests we get ready.

Now don't you feel better about those hackers draining your bank account? It could be so much worse!

Illustration by Don Davis, courtesy of NASA.

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