If you imagine that Cyber Threats could be a minor nuisance, you may think in terms of the loss of a few files, or even of a computer crash, nothing to be really excited about. You need only take out your routine backup and you are back on track in no time.
But wait a minute! While we were talking, the whole of our current civilization, on which we depend so heavily, was transformed by exceptional minds, through tireless labor of millions of dedicated people, to be based exclusively on the perfect performance of computer and communication technology.
Think of it. Without paying any attention, we depend for our daily life and its quality, on the flawless operations of myriads of connected computers for everything we need. We enjoy an unprecedented convenience while performing our most common duties or when perusing the most sophisticated facilities.
The electricity we use, the water we find at the tap, the supplies we buy, our transportation, our vacations, our work, our health, our life depend on the smooth functioning of a lot of computer controlled factors that collectively assure the regular course of things.
Around us, all manufacturing, storing, transportation, medical, education and government activities are organized, controlled and executed by people who developed their computer literacy in view of the needs of their careers, to become able to perform their duties.
Besides computers we use cell phones and mobile devices. Our children and grand children learn to search knowledge and communicate from their earliest age. In a perfect world there would not be any reason to worry. Just enjoy your life from everywhere in the world you want to stay, and be in contact with all you care for.
All this is very nice as long as it works. However it now appears that the concept itself of world wide interconnected communications conceals a terrifying vulnerability. It is becoming more and more questionable if it is possible at all to protect the web from intentional destructive attacks.
What happens when natural events like earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, tsunamis or similar disasters suddenly disrupt locally the regular flow of civilized life? Or when wars, insurrections, revolutions, genocide or other man made tragedies take place in distant locations?
In those cases we get a glimpse of what happens to normal forms of civilization when human tools and shelters break down. Nothing works any more, people are left alone in the aftermath of the cataclysm that struck them. Partial help may be given by far away organizations and nations, generally too little and too late. We may express sympathy for the victims, while they mourn their dead people and slowly pick up the shreds of what is left.
What has this terrifying scenario to do with the Cyber Threats mentioned in the title above? Apparently something is deeply disturbing the highest authorities of every nation, if they dedicate so much attention and funds to finance the efforts needed to set up adequate protection against them.
Detailed information openly available from many authoritative sources give a gloomy view of the prospects, if it is true that no credible strategy could be conceived as yet, capable to oppose the most devastating attacks of disruption that nasty individuals, dangerous ideological movements or hostile nations could launch at any time against civilized human communities.
Also it is recognized that the measures deployed by official authorities are regularly lagging behind the potential threats known to be prepared and planned in the dark. Private companies seem wary to spend their assets in improving their precautions and also in purchasing adequate insurance coverage.
This enemy is sneaky, anonymous, hidden in the crowd, but from time to time evidence is collected that guarded secrets were stolen, that money was diverted from companies to unknown thieves, that accessible online servers were forcibly disabled.
Unfortunately, although people at large have no means to stage any special defense, except possibly in the privacy of their own computer, it is a fact that Cyber Threats may affect everyone.
We can only hope that those in charge of dealing with this matter will find the courage, the strength and the ingenuity to put in place credible precautions capable to limit the damage in extent and in time, to find ways to expose the enemy and to win this ultimate war.
It is disturbing to be compelled to recognize that our splendid civilization with all its extraordinary achievements might be at the mercy of people whose only concept of success is the total destruction of anything of value produced by the human history.